March 29, 2011
Dons’ bats hit Riders hard
From Staff Reports, The Weirton Daily Times

WEIRTON - The Madonna baseball team scored early and often in Monday's 17-3 victory over Weir High at Bowman Field.

The Blue Dons, still sans a few basketball players, went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first inning before scoring three in the second, four in the third and nine in the fourth, sending 27 batters to the plate in the three innings.

Logan Linder earned the victory for the defending West Virginia Class A state champions. He went four innings, striking out six and walking a pair. Freshman Luca Fuscardo closed the game, fanning two and walking one.

Zach Knuutila took the loss in 2 innings. He struck out three and walked three. Connor Addison came in and walked two and struck out one before Jeremy Swartzmiller finished on the bump.

Anthony Fulmer ripped a two-run homer for Madonna in the top of the second. Teammate Chris Duerr jacked a three-run blast one inning later.

The Blue Dons scored nine times after sending 13 batters to the dish in the fourth.

They did so on four singles, two hit batters, a pair of walks, three Red Riders errors and a groundout.

The Red Riders collected their first hit when Cody Harmon began the bottom of the fourth inning. Evan Harris and Addison followed with singles and a Knuutila double scored Harris.

Swartzmiller's groundout plated Addison.

Weir (2-1) finished with those four hits.

Madonna visits Oak Glen Wednesday and the Red Riders host Big Red Thursday.
 Madonna 17, Weir 3
Madonna 034 91 - 17 8 4

Weir 000 30 - 3 4 10

MADONNA (1-0): Linder (WP, 6K, 2BB), L. Fuscardo (2K, 1BB) and Duerr; L. Fuscardo 1B, RBI; Mozingo RBI; Eloi 1B, RBI; Duerr HR, 1B, 3RBI; T. Fuscardo 2-1B; Fulmer HR, 3RBI; Rogers 1B.

WEIR (2-1): Knuutila (LP, 2.1, 3K, 3BB), Addison (3rd, 1K, 2BB), Swartzmiller (5th, 1K, 2BB) and Harmon, Knuutila (3); Harmon 1B; Harris 1B; Addison 1B, RBI; Knutilla 2B, RBI; Swartzmiller RBI.

April 6, 2011
Madonna falls to Park by one run (CORRECTION: Loss to Linsly by two runs)
Weirton Daily Times
WHEELING - In an early season matchup of two small school powers, Linsly coach Jay Cartwright and Madonna coach Jeff Baire each came away feeling pretty good about their respective teams.

Linsly took round one, staying undefeated with a 7-5 victory Tuesday at Holloway Field behind six strong innings from Matt Smith and some timely hitting.

''Our pitching was very solid,'' Cartwright said. ''Matt came out and threw well and he needed to because (Madonna) is a good-hitting ballclub. They came out and swung the bats.

''Defensively, we are not quite there yet. We made some mistakes that we are not going to be able to make down the line, but it's early and it's a veteran group of kids and I like their competitiveness. They keep coming after it and that is the key, especially against good clubs like Weirton Madonna.''

The weather hasn't helped a Madonna team that lost six starters from its championship squad to get into much of a rhythm. Tuesday's game was just the first since a season-opening, 17-3 victory against rival Weir.

The Blue Dons started fast, staking to a 2-0 lead in the second inning off a solo home run from Connor Mogan and an RBI single from Ross Comis in the freshman's first varsity at-bat.

The Cadets (5-0) didn't take long to respond, showing they can swing the bats as well. Derek Miller hit a three-run home run to center that ricocheted off the scoreboard to put Linsly on top.

''Derek Miller is a senior guy, four-year letterwinner and a huge part of this program,'' Cartwright said. ''That was big for us. It was a real clutch, solid swing on the ball that got us the lead for the first time and we were able to hang on. Teams like (Madonna) don't beat themselves, you have to have to beat them.''

Chris Perna took the ball in the fourth inning for the Blue Dons (1-1) and after two quick groundouts to second baseman Ryan Mozingo, things took a turn for the worse.

Jon-Michael Brunner lined a shot up the middle to keep the inning going. Alex Stephens hit a grounder to Madonna shortstop Nick Battista. Battista, who played second until that inning when Perna shifted from shortstop to the mound, shorthopped the throw and first baseman Anthony Fulmer was unable to pick it. The misplay allowed Brunner and Stephens to move into scoring position.

Leighton Gibson made the Blue Dons pay for the error with a hard-hit single that scored both runs as Linsly went ahead 5-2.

Madonna closed the gap in the sixth inning with two runs as Daniel Pietranton and Fulmer each had sacrifice flies to score Chris Eloi and Mogan, respectively. But with the tying run standing on second base, Smith caught Chris Duerr off second base to end the inning.

''We definitely made some bonehead mistakes that we need to clean up,'' Baire said. ''We wind up losing by those two runs on (the fourth-inning throwing error).

''Against a quality Linsly team, for us to come out and play as young as we did, starting two freshmen, I was impressed with the way we handled ourselves in adverse situations. I was really impressed with the way we battled back.

''This is only our second game and there are going to be some jitters for guys that aren't used to playing varsity baseball. Linsly is going to be phenomenal and we are going to have to be at our best when we play teams like this.''

Linsly got those two runs back in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI groundout by Stephens and an RBI single from Miller, his fourth RBI.

Brunner closed out the victory, striking out two, walking one and allowing an unearned run.

For Linsly, it was the first time in five games the Cadets were held to less than 10 runs.

''We are going to be a solid offensive club and we are going to make some pitchers work,'' Cartwright said. ''We have some kids that can hit the ball. I'm optimistic but we still have a ways to go. But when you hit the ball, you are always in the games and it is a lot of fun to coach these kids. They love to swing.''

Linsly 7, Madonna 5

Madonna 020 002 1 - 5 6 1

Linsly 003 202 x - 7 8 3

MADONNA: Morgan (1K, 2BB), Perna (4) (LP, 1K, 0BB), Ossman (6) (1K, 2BB), Eloi (6) (0K, 2BB) and Duerr. Mogan 2B, HR, RBI; Duerr 2B; Pietranton RBI; Comis 1B, RBI; Fulmer 1B, RBI.

LINSLY: Smith (WP, 6K, 1BB), Brunner (7) (2K, 1BB) and Tennant. Brunner 1B, 2B; Stephens 2B, RBI; Gibson 1B, 2RBI; Miller 1B, HR, 4RBI; Stanley 2B.
April 15, 2011
Dons play third game of year, beat Maroon Knights
Weirton Daily Times
WEIRTON - It has been a slow start to the season for the Madonna baseball team. The Blue Dons had only participated in two contests prior to Thursday's meeting with rival Wheeling Central at Edwin J. Bowman Field.

Despite the lag in active game participation, Madonna's bats were alive as the Dons defeated the Maroon Knights 10-2. Both teams will travel to Parkersburg today for weekend tournament play.

"I was very happy with the way we played," Madonna coach Jeff Baire commented. "These guys were getting frustrated with being in the gym. They have been a little lackadaisical over the past couple days. I told them that coming into today, and here was their opportunity. We were finally out on the field. I wanted them to show me that they deserved me letting them go a little bit.

"They hit the ball well. We played relatively solid defensively. Logan (Linder) threw a great game. We got the hits we needed and took advantage of the few mistakes they made."

Wheeling Central drew first blood after Madonna had already secured two outs in the opening frame. P.J. Ratcliffe reached first base courtesy of a walk. Multiple throwing errors found Wheeling Central's center fielder on third base. Joey Baker singled to bring Ratcliffe home for a 1-0 advantage.

Madonna quickly found itself in the same situation as Wheeling Central previously did. The Dons had two outs to open the bottom of the first with no runners on base. Linder came to the plate batting third in Madonna's lineup. As the count read 2-1, Linder exploded through the baseball and it sailed over the left-center field fence for a home run to tie the contest 1-1.

Linder was also on the mound and eventually became the winning pitcher of note with seven strikeouts. He registered two RBIs while at the plate.

The Dons were not finished in the inning. Connor Mogan doubled after Linder's blast. A balk by Wheeling Central's pitcher sent the base runner to third. Chris Duerr singled and Mogan trotted 90-feet to give the Dons a 2-1 lead.

"We do an awful lot of live throwing," Baire detailed. "It's not like they are not used to seeing pitches, but they are still high school kids. When they get out on the ballfield, you never know exactly what is going to happen.

"They've been working hard. They have a little bit of a chip on their shoulder."

Wheeling Central responded. Joel Jarrett opened the top of the second inning with a double. He was brought home by another double courtesy of the designated hitter, Michael Zavolta. The Maroon Knights knotted the score at two apiece, but it was the last runs the team scored.

Six runs were scored in the third and fourth innings by Madonna.

"We have to learn from the mistakes we made," Wheeling Central coach Jimbo Wodusky commented. "We made several. They are a very good team. When you make certain little mistakes, and I'm not even talking about the errors - pitchers not locating balls and batters getting down in the count watching good pitches go by - a good hitting team is going to make you pay."

The Blue Dons' scoring spree began with a Chris Eloi home run. The center field sign at Bowman Field reads 350 feet. Eloi's shot floated 351 feet to straight away center. Linder scored again in the third inning after receiving a walk, advancing with a stolen base, and then reaching home via error.

Four tallies were added in the fourth. Luca Fuscardo doubled, the first of two on the day, and eventually scored. Eloi was hit by a pitch. Linder doubled to bring a run home. Mogan then doubled for a second time as two runners passed the plate. Finally, a Daniel Pietranton single brought Mogan home for a commanding 8-2 lead.

Chris Perna hit a sac fly in the fifth inning for the last earned run of the ballgame in Madonna's favor. The final score read 10-2.

"It's way too early to worry about it," Wodusky finished. "We are a veteran club. Hopefully the true leaders will step up and take control."

Madonna 10, Wheeling Central 2

Wheeling Central 110 000 0 - 2 6 2

Madonna 202 420 0 - 10 10 0

WHEELING CENTRAL (2-4): Baker (LP, 1K, 2BB); Jarrett (1IP, 0K, 1BB); Fullerton (2IP, 1K, 1BB) and Biega. Taylor 1B; Ratcliffe 1B; Baker 1B, RBI; Jarrett 2B; Fullerton 1B; Zavolta 2B.

MADONNA (2-1): Linder (WP, 7K, 3BB);L. Fuscardo (1IP, 1K, 0BB) and Duerr. Eloi HR, RBI; Perna RBI; Linder HR, 2B, 2RBI; Mogan 2 2B, 2RBI; Duerr 1B, RBI; Pietranton 1B, RBI; Battista 1B;L. Fuscardo 2 2B.
WTOV9 Video Highlights: Madonna vs. Wheeling Central
April 16, 2011
Dons, Creek, Central, Riders garner victories
From Staff Reports, The Weirton Daily Times
PARKERSBURG - Madonna outscored its opponents 25-16 in double-header action Friday during the Catholic Baseball Invitational. Unfortunately, the Blue Dons were only able to win one of those games despite the offensive fireworks. Madonna defeated Parkersburg Catholic 16-2 in the team's opening play but fell to Charleston Catholic 14-9 during the second contest. The opening game saw Chris Eloi triple. Connor Mogan had three hits, including a double, which produced three RBIs. Daniel Pietrantion singled twice as did Luca Fuscardo. Mogan was also on the mound against the Crusaders, pitching a two-hitter and striking out nine batters.

Madonna then fell to Charleston Catholic. Fuscardo remained hot and posted three singles. Nicholas Battista singled twice and Mogan belted a double.

Madonna 16, Parkersburg Catholic 2
Madonna 307 006 - 16 9 2
Parkersburg Catholic 000 011 - 2 2 6
MADONNA: Mogan (WP, 9K, 1BB). Eloi 3B, RBI; Perna RBI; Mogan 2-1B, 2B, 3RBI, Duerr 1B, RBI; Pietranton 2-1B, RBI; Comis RBI;
Battista RBI; Fuscardo 2-1B.
PARKERSBURG CATHOLIC: Davis (LP, 6K, 1BB), DeMaio (6) (1K, 2BB). DeMaio 2B; Casto RBI; Luther RBI.
Charleston Catholic 14, Madonna 9
Madonna 005 220 0 - 9 9 3
Charleston Catholic 700 214 x - 14 11 4
MADONNA: Fuscardo 3-1B, Battista 2-1B; Mogan 2B.
CHARLESTON CATHOLIC: McKown 2-1B, 2-2B; Bobinger 2B; Golden 2-1B; Cable 2B.
April 19, 2011
Madonna upends the Red Knights 14-5
Weirton Daily Times

WEIRTON - Chris Duerr belted three home Monday at Bowman Field as the Madonna baseball team cruised past visiting Toronto, 14-5.

"Obviously Chris Duerr had a big game for us," said Blue Dons coach Jeff Baire. "He's really seeing the ball well right now. He's hit the ball well from the beginning."

Madonna's Chris Eloi walked in the bottom of the first and, with one out, Connor Mogan reached on an error and Duerr brought them in with his first blast. Nick Battista doubled in the bottom of the second. Eloi and Chris Perna walked to load the sacks. Starting pitcher Logan Linder helped his cause with a two-RBI single. Mogan collected an RBI on a groundout and Duerr the deposited his second shot over the fence for two more RBIs.

"We dug ourselves an early hole," said Red Knights coach Brian Perkins. "Our kids chipped away and we were back in it and we had an opportunity to get a big hit to really get back into the game, but it just didn't work out for us."

Toronto's Tyler Butler was hit by a pitch to start the fourth inning. Trevor Cooper singled and Spenser Sninchak roped a three-run homer for an 8-3 deficit.

Linder started the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run. One out later, Duerr laced an 0-2 pitch over the fence for the hat trick.

Daniel Pietranton then doubled and scored on Battista's single.

"Logan came in throwing strikes and we played good defense behind him," said Baire. "We swung the bats well and that's a recipe for success any day of the week.

"Our problem is we just need to get out on the field more often."

Linder finished with six strikeouts and three walks.

With two out in the top of the fifth, Tyler Owens singled and scored on Butler's double. He came home on Cooper's single. Sninchak singled and Austin Lucas walked to load the bases. Linder exited the jam with a ground out.

Toronto threatened again in the top of the sixth. With one out, John Marriner walked and Chase Takacs and Owens singled to load the bases again.

This time, Linder got out of the jam with a double play ball.

"They're a good ballteam," said Perkins. "Hopefully we'll meet them down the road somewhere."

Madonna 14, Toronto 5

Toronto 000 320 0 - 5 8 0

Madonna 350 303 x - 14 15 1

TORONTO: Sninchak (LP, 0K, 4BB), King (2nd, 3K, 1BB), Owens (6th, 0K, 0BB) and Butler; Takacs 1B; Owens 2-1B; Butler 2B, RBI; Sninchak HR, 1B, 3RBI; Cooper 2-1B.

MADONNA: Linder (WP, 6K, 3BB), Bowser (7th, 2K, 2BB) and Duerr; Perna 1B; Linder 3-1B, HR, 3RBI; Mogan 1B; 3-HR, 6RBI; Pietranton 1B, 2B; Fuscardo 1B; Battista 2B, 1B; Ossman 1B, RBI.

April 30, 2011

Wheeling Central beats Madonna

Staff Reports, Weirton Daily Times

WHEELING - The Madonna baseball team traveled down river Saturday to face rival Wheeling Central. The Maroon Knights were not welcoming hosts as they defeated the Blue Dons 7-3.

Wheeling Central scored three runs in the first three innings while holding down Madonna's explosive offense. The Maroon Knights final four runs in the fourth and sixth inning proved too much.

Daniel Pietranton led the way with three singles for Madonna. Chris Perna and Chris Duerr each doubled.

The teams are preparing for the West Virginia Class A?Region 1, Section 1 Tournament that begins one week from Monday.

The Blue Dons host Shadyside Tuesday, visit Brooke Wednesday, welcome Linsly Thursday and play Weir Friday for the city championship.

Wheeling Central 7, Madonna 3

Madonna 000 201 0 - 3 9 0

Wheeling Central 102 301 x - 7 9 1

MADONNA (7-3): Mogan (LP,1K, 3BB), Fuscardo (4) (3K, 2BB) and Duerr; Perna 2B; Duerr 2B; Pietranton 3-1B; Fuscardo 2-1B.

WHEELING CENTRAL (9-5): Fullerton (WP, 1K, 1BB), Keys (6) (2K, 1BB) and Keane. Jarrett 2-1B; Ratcliffe 2B, 2rbi; Baker 2-1B, 3RBI.

May 6, 2011
Dons Claim City Crown
Weirton Daily Times

WEIRTON - The Weir baseball team jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead over Madonna in the Weirton city title game Friday at Edwin J. Bowman Field. Four-innings later the Blue Dons had secured city bragging rights with a 13-2, 5-inning win over the Red Riders.

"It was awesome," said Madonna interim head coach T.J. Brancazio, who filled in for Jeff Baire as he served a three-game suspension. "You have these kids who grew up together, in the same city, and its just a good win for us today."

The Red Riders' fast start began with Ryan Duke reaching base on an error. Josh Russell then connected on a Logan Linder delivery for a single that brought Duke in for the score. Cody Harmon plated Russell with a one-out run-scoring single.

Unfortunately for Weir, Linder struck out the side and gave up only one more hit the rest of the way.

"Linder threw a pretty good game," said Weir head coach Bill Magnone. "He shut us down hitting. All year long we just haven't been fielding or getting the hits when we need them."

Madonna tied the game in the bottom half of the first with a little 2-out lightning. Linder was hit by a pitch to reach first and Connor Mogan drove him in with a single. Mogan scored to tie the game at two when Chris Duerr reached on an error.

"We made too many mistakes," said Magnone. " They hit the ball well and we made too many mistakes."

The Blue Dons took the lead in the bottom of the second. Nick Ossman opened the inning with a single. Linder pushed him in when he grounded into a bases loaded fielders choice. It was the first of seven RBIs for the Madonna pitcher.

Madonna broke the game open in the third with a 7-run barrage. The innings major damage came first on an RBI double by Nick Battista and later on a 3-run blast by Linder that made the score 10-2 Blue Dons.

Linder secured the mercy rule finish. He set it up with a 3-run double in the bottom of the fourth that plated Battista, Ossman, and Nick Perna to make the score 13-2.

He finished it in the top of the fifth with a one-two-three inning that included a strikeout, flyout, and a groundout.

"They bounced back (from a 12-6 loss to Bishop Donahue earlier int he day), and they showed the character I know they have," said Brancazio.

"I think this is one step taking us to the sectional, and we'll be ready to play come Monday."

Madonna is scheduled to play at Hebron Lakewood in doubleheader today.

Madonna 13, Weir 2

Weir 200 00 - 2 3 3

Madonna 217 3x - 13 7 1

WEIR: Harmon (LP, 3K, 5BB), Knuutila, (3rd, K, 3BB), Russell (4th, 1K, 1BB) and Knuutila, Harmon (3); Russell 1B, RBI, Harmon 2-1B, RBI.

MADONNA: Linder (WP, 5K, 3BB) and Comis; Linder HR, 2B, 7 RBI, Mogan 1B, RBI, Battista 2B, 1B, RBI, Ossman 2-1B, Perna RBI.

Madonna falls to Bishops

WEIRTON - Madonna's first game of the day Friday at Edwin J. Bowman Field saw it fall to visiting Bishop Donahue 12-6 behind the strength of a six-run fifth inning by the Bishops.

Madonna held a 6-3 lead after four innings of play when Bishop Donahue's bats blew up combined with a number of fielding miscues by the Blue Dons. Madonna commited seven errors in all for the game.

Duerr had a big game at the plate for Madonna with a home run and two singles while knocking in four runs. Luca Fuscardo smashed a two-run roundtripper of his own.

Bishop Donahue 12, Madonna 6

Bishop Donahue 021 062 1 - 12 11 4

Madonna 105 000 0 - 6 9 7

BISHOP DONAHUE: Gaphery (WP, 1K, 1BB) and Overholt; Kurisko 1B, Smith 3-1B, 2 RBI, Gillis 1B, Koontz HR, 2B, 5 RBI, Angalich 2-2B, 1B, Overholt 1B.

MADONNA: Mogan (2K, 0BB), Battista (4th, LP, 2K, 2BB), Fuscardo (6th, 0K, 0BB) and Comis; Perna 2-1B, Linder 1B, Duerr HR, 2-1B, 4 RBI, Pietranton 1B, Fuscardo HR, 2 RBI, Comis 1B.

May 9, 2011
Madonna rolls to 11-1 win
Weirton Daily Times
WHEELING - It was just one of those days for Bishop Donahue.

While some of the talk after Monday's West Virginia Class A sectional baseball opener, won 11-1 by Weirton Madonna in five innings, was the Blue Dons getting the big hit in key situations, a closer look reveals the Blue Dons had plenty of help.

Sure, Chris Duerr did rip a two-run triple in the first to score the first two runs, and later, Nick Ossman rapped a two-run single for the last two, but nearly everything else was gift-wrapped by the boys in green and gold.

Two of Madonna's runs scored on errors, another came on a bases-loaded walk and two more came in on sacrifice flies, meaning the big hits weren't always there.

''We struggled a little bit in the field and put our pitchers in a bind,'' Bishops coach Dan Angalich said. ''You can't give a team like Madonna more than three outs in an innning. And that's what we did.''

In the end, though, they all count the same and Madonna grabbed the upperhand in the sectional, while the Bishops are looking at battling their way out from the loser's bracket.

Madonna and Wheeling Central will play at 5 p.m. today back at the I-470 Complex.

''We wanted to come out, get a good start, put some runs on the board and see how (Bishop Donahue) would respond to that pressure,'' Madonna coach Jeff Baire said. ''We did a good job of that.''


With one out on the first, Chris Perna walked ahead of a Logan Linder being hit by a pitch.

An out later, Duerr, a right-hander, ripped his triple down the right-field line for the first two. Daniel Pietranton followed that with an RBI single to right.

The Bishops got one back in the bottom of the frame when Garrett Yurisko walked and eventually came around to score on a wild pitch. But there were two on and two out when Madonna third baseman Ossman gloved a screaming liner to third by Zach Whitfield that could have tied the game had it gotten through.

''In the first inning, we had a shot,'' Angalich said.

Madonna then sent 10 to the plate in the second, though it had just three hits in the frame - all singles. In four consecutive at-bats, there was an error and three straight walks. And the inning ended on a double play.

Suddenly, Madonna led 9-1.

''There were some plays we could have made and we were having some control problems and gave them a few extra outs ... '' Angalich said.

''It's tough down 9-1 against a quality team like that.''

It stayed that way until the fifth, when Duerr and Nick Battista walked and were on when Ossman came through with his two-run single.

The Bishops loaded the bases in the top of the fifth but left all three there, part of a night in which it stranded nine.

''That was the difference,'' Angalich said.

Madonna 11, Bishop Donahue 1

Madonna 620 20 - 11 8 1

Bishop Donahue 100 00 - 1 4 2

MADONNA: Mogan (WP, 4K, 2BB), Bowser (5IP, 2K, 2BB) and Comis. Eloi 1B, RBI; Perni 2B, RBI; Duerr 3B, 2RBI; Pietranton 1B, RBI; Fuscardo RBI; Ossman 2-1B, 2RBI.

BISHOP DONAHUE: Whitfield (LP, 3K, 3BB), Ghaphery (1IP, 1K, 1BB), Koontz (1P, 0K, 0BB) and Overholt. Smith 2-1B.

May 11, 2011
Blue Dons advance to meet Knights
Weirton Daily Times
WHEELING - While Bishop Donahue had its chances, as usual it will be Weirton Madonna and Wheeling Central fighting it out for the West Virginia Class A, Region One, Section One championship.

Chris Perna overcame a rough second inning, limiting the Bishops to three hits through six innings and setting down 13 of the final 14 hitters he faced.

Offensively, the Blue Dons exploded for 14 hits in gaining a 12-6, loser's bracket victory against Bishop Donahue at the J.B. Chambers I-470 Junior Sports Complex on Wednesday.

The victory moves Jeff Baire's defending state champions into the finals against Wheeling Central today back at the 470 diamond. However, Madonna will need a victory today and another against Jimbo Wodusky's Maroon Knights on Friday to move on to the regional.

Ironically, it is the same situation the 11-5 Blue Dons faced a season ago en route to the small-school title.

''Honestly, Jimbo does a great job with that team, but I really feel like we left some plays on the field in two losses to them this year,'' Baire said. ''We know that we will have to play well on defense and take advantage of our opportunities to move on.''

Things began great for Madonna on Wednesday as it pushed across three runs in the first and two more in the top of the second to gain a 5-0 advantage. But the bottom of the second was nearly the Blue Dons' undoing.

A walk, sandwiched in between two hit batters, led to a three-run Chad Riedel double to deep right-center, cutting the deficit to 5-3. Kyle Gillis' single later plated Riedel to make it a 5-4 game.

Donahue (11-10) actually moved into a short-lived lead thanks to a pair of errors, a passed ball and Wylie Koontz's base hit that made it 6-5.

Unfortunately for Dan Angalich's squad, it managed two more baserunners the rest of the game and the Blue Dons were not even close to finished scoring.

The big blast, and what turned out to be the difference, was a three-run home run by No. 9 hitter Ross Comis in the third that put the Dons ahead 8-6, a lead they never surrendered.

A big key to the game for Weirton Madonna was the fact half of its 14 hits came with two strikes in the count, something Baire feels his team has gotten very good at accomplishing.

''We really have made a habit of doing that over the last couple of years,'' he said. ''These kids are just not intimidated when they get in that situation, and this year has not been any exception.

''Chris Perna really did a good job for us on the mound also. Due to our limited number of games we weren't able to get some kids the experience we would have liked, but Chris has been able to grab some innings on the mound the last few years and we went to him.

''True to form, his senior leadership showed through and he handled his business. He really battled through a tough second inning but was able to hold it together.

''Hopefully we can come back here on Thursday and force another game on Friday and see what happens.''

Perna finished with three strikeouts and two walks in gaining a victory while Tony Fuscardo recorded the final three outs in the seventh. In all, the Blue Dons set down 16 of the final 18 batters they saw.

''One good thing is that we got the bats on the ball, but to their credit they made some plays, especially at third and short,'' Angalich said. ''I think we could have had some great opportunities if not for their defense.

''And they were able to take advantage of our mistakes. We knew coming in that this was the toughest sectional in the state, and I really believe the winner here will have an outstanding shot at winning it all.''

Madonna 12, Bishop Donahue 6

Madonna 323 202 0 - 12 14 4

Bishop Donahue 060 000 0 - 6 3 6

MADONNA: Perna (WP, 3K, 2BB), T. Fuscardo (7th, 0K, 0BB) and Comis; Perna 2-1B, RBI, Linder 1B, 3B, Logan 3-1B, 2 RBI, L. Fuscardo 1B, 2 RBI, Ossman 2-1B, Comis 2B, HR, 4 RBI.

BISHOP DONAHUE: Whitfield (0K, 0BB), Ghaphery (2nd, LP, 1K, 1BB), Koontz (5th, 2K, 2BB, Cashe (7th, 1K, 0BB) and Overholt, Whitfield (5), Overholt (7); Riedel 2B, 3 RBI, Gillis 1B, RBI.

May 18, 2011
Eddie Nogay, PAC Honorable Mention for W&J
Published by Staff

Former Weirton Madonna baseball ace Eddie Nogay was named Honorable Mention all PAC for Washington & Jefferson. In his freshman outing, Nogay posted a perfect 3-0 record from the mound with a team best 2.30 ERA.

Washington & Jefferson finished the baseball season with a 19-21 mark, after a lose to Grove City in the PAC Tournament.

For Weirton Madonna, Nogay was a four year letterman in baseball, and a three-year letterman in football. Eddie is the son of Mike and Robin Nogay.



Linder will play baseball at Niagara

January 24, 2012

Weirton Daily Times

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WEIRTON - Right there on the field.

Madonna senior Logan Linder was at a baseball showcase event at Division I Niagara University in Lewiston, N.Y., last summer.

"Coach got hold of me through a kid I knew and they had me come up there for a showcase one day and we scrimmaged the next day," said Linder. "They offered me right there on the field. I don't think that normally happens.

"It was a big relief getting everything done before my senior year of baseball. It was a pretty tough decision, a lot tougher than I thought, actually. Niagara has a beautiful campus.

"I wanted to stay close to home, but I wanted to play as soon as I could and I have a good opportunity there to play right away (in center field). I'm really glad I made the decision.

"I wanted to play right away, and that was my main goal. I asked the coach if I had a chance to play right away and he said yes. Everything else fell into place. Niagara fit everything for me."

Linder has been a mainstay for coach Jeff Baire's Blue Dons since his freshman year. He batted .466 as a freshman (34 for 73), .416 as a sophomore (47 for 113) and .443 a year ago (27 for 61). Madonna went to the state tournament his freshman year, losing in the West Virginia Class A semifinals, and won the whole thing his sophomore year. He wants a return trip to Charleston.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I believe we can get there," he said. "It wasn't that much fun last year not getting to go down there."

Linder has started 75 of 77 games for Baire. He has 24 doubles, eight home runs, 99 RBIs, 161 total bases and owns a .674 slugging percentage. He has 27 walks and 26 strikeouts in 292 plate appearances.

"He's going to be seeing a lot of time in center for us this year, but he's also one of those guys who will be out on the mount every fourth game," said Baire.

"After his sophomore year we talked - Amy, Glen and I - about what he should do over the summer. I just gave them my personal opinion that it was probably better for him to go to Pittsburgh and do some traveling with the talent he has. I feel that was what was going to benefit him the most.

"Niagara is one of those schools who got involved after seeing him over the summer through games and camps. We talked back and forth quite a bit.

"The way Logan performs on the field is the way he carries himself off the field, which is the best part. It was an easy sell, as far as that's concerned.

"Logan was very happy with the way things went with the school. He got a great deal and is going to see the field right away. He couldn't ask for more. It's a perfect situation for him."

Linder understands he didn't get to this point alone.

"I want to thank my parents first off. My dad has been my coach my whole life. I want to thank coach Baire and the rest of the coaching staff at Madonna and my summer league coach. Nick DeVrnja, who owns Quick Fit Gym, helps me train a lot. I'd like to thank him also."




Dons stop Weir

March 27, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

WEIRTON - Madonna scored four runs in the last two innings to earn a 7-3 win over city-rival Weir High Monday at Ed Bowman Field.

Senior Logan Linder, who threw more than 100 pitches in going the distance, finished strong to give his Blue Dons the complete-game victory. He struck out 13 Red Rider batters and walked three.

It was the first loss for the Red Riders after winning their opener against Oak Glen.

"Logan pitched a heck of a ballgame," Blue Don coach Jeff Baire said. "One of the things I talked to the kids about, though, after the game was the errors we made that caused him to have to throw about 25 more pitches than he should have.

"Linder was right around 100 pitches today, but he threw a heck of game. But we expect that out of him."

Baire's Blue Dons got six of their nine hits from the bottom three batters in the order, which made the coach happy.

"That is a very pleasant surprise," Baire said. "I expect that out of Will Bowser and Nick Ossman, but I'm very pleased with the way our freshman, Kaleb Baire, hit the ball tonight."

Madonna scored first with two runs in the top of the third inning.

Ossman led off the inning with a walk, stole second and moved to third on Baire's soft single to center field. Ossman scored on a sacrifice fly to left field by Ross Comis and Baire scored when Linder lined a triple over the right fielder's head.

The Red Riders bounced right back with a run in the bottom of the third when junior Ryan Duke singled and scored on classmate Josh Russell's double into the right center field gap.

Madonna got that run back in the fourth inning on another bloop single by Baire, which drove Bowser home. Bowser had singled earlier. That gave the Blue Dons a 3-1 lead.

However, the Red Riders battled back, scoring two runs in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at 3-3.

Matt Cessna led off the inning with a double to right field and scored on a William Larch single to left field. Larch moved to second when the left fielder bobbled the ball and raced home on a Mitch Viakley single to center.

"We hit the ball and there is some potential there for us, but there were too many times in this game that we had to make plays in key situations and didn't," said Bob Rosnick, who returned to the Weir High head coaching job after four years away from baseball. "Madonna made the plays when they had to and we didn't. Hopefully, that'll come. It's all about inexperience and youth for us right now."

The Blue Dons scored the winning runs in the top of the sixth. Mendenhall issued a leadoff walk to Linder. Catcher, Chris Duerr moved him to second with a check-swing hit to left field. Linder and Duerr moved up on a wild pitch and both scored on Connor Mogan's line shot to left field.

The Blue Dons added a couple of insurance runs in the top of the seventh on Bowser's ringing double up the right center field gap.

Madonna 7, Weir 3

Madonna 002 122 - 7 9 3

Weir 001 200 - 3 8 3

MADONNA (1-1): Linder (WP, 13K, 3BB) and Duerr. Linder T; Bowser D, S; Baire 2S; Ossman S, D; Mogan S; Duerr S.

WEIR (1-1): Mendenhall (LP, 8K 4W), Cessna (7th, 0K, 1BB). Duke 2S, Russell D, Cessna D, Mendenhall 2S, Larch S, Viakley S.

 The Blue Dons handle the challenge from #2 Charleston Catholic in State Semi-final and down #1 East Hardy 5-4 in 8 innings to win Title #2 in 3 years.

Blue Dons reach the Class A championship

June 3, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

CHARLESTON - For the second time in three years the Madonna baseball team has a chance to win the West Virginia Class A state championship.That opportunity came in the form of a 6-1 victory over nemesis Charleston Catholic Saturday night at Appalachian Power Park.

The Blue Dons tee it up at approximately 6:30 p.m. tonight on the same field against East Hardy, a 10-0 winner over Valley-Fayette.

This win was personal for Madonna senior Nick Battista."We really wanted this game," he said. "They ended my season in golf and in basketball. This was a little redemption."

"It sure feels good to finally beat them," said Blue Dons senior Connor Mogan. "Defensively we played well. Nick was really solid up the middle so was Kaleb (Baire), and Ross (Comis) made every play that came to him at third. "Everyone in the outfield also made their plays. We played well tonight."

That redemption started early as Madonna scored twice in the bottom of the first inning.Comis was hit by a pitch and Logan Linder promptly doubled to the right field wall. Mogan reached on a catcher's interference and back-to-back walks to Chris Duerr and Nick Ossman plated the two runs. Although the Blue Dons left the bases loaded, the start was exactly what the doctor and head coach Jeff Baire ordered.

"Early runs never are important, they never make a team relax," Baire said with a smile and with tongue firmly in cheek. "That was huge and we did it with only one hit. It was us being patient enough to take pitches until we got something that we could hit and it ended up working out very well for us."
"Those runs made me comfortable," said Linder, the starting and winning pitcher. "I knew I could throw strikes and get ahead. I didn't have to worry about them scoring one run." "Those two runs took a big weight off our shoulders," said Madonna catcher Chris Duerr. "I know it took a big weight off my shoulders behind the plate. I know it had to relax everyone else." "Those two runs in the first were huge and we just went from there," said Mogan. "It was great to get a nice little lead at the beginning of the game." Madonna added three in the bottom of the third inning.

Duerr began the frame with a seeing-eye single to center. He stole second and scored on Ossman's double. Will Bowser singled to left and went to second on an error for second and third with one out. Battista flipped a single to right with two outs to score the pair. "That was one of my biggest hits of the year," said Battista. "I just took the outside pitch to right field. I was looking for that fastball he had been throwing to me and he gave it to me."

"That hit was a lot of help," said Linder. "It helped take a lot of pressure off a lot of people. "We've been playing great lately. We're not trying to play any better than we are. We're just trying to do what we can do. "

"When the morale is up in the dugout, we make so many less errors," said Duerr, who had a single, RBI and one of three stolen bases. "In the dugout, everyone's up, we're hitting good, we're fielding good. We're loose and just playing good baseball.

"Our emotions are high. We try to keep it up, but try not to go over the top. There's a happy medium in there and I think we finally found it. In the beginning of the season we weren't that way, but we found it toward the end of the season and we've been playing pretty well."

"Everything turned around about a month ago for us," said Mogan. "We've been more relaxed since then. Before then, we were all uptight, little bit nervous for some reason and really not playing good baseball. "But, we've come through since then and have been playing good ball."

Charleston Catholic scored a run in the top of the fourth, but Madonna added one in the fifth when Will Bowser tripled to dead center with two outs and scored when Daniel Pietranton's grounder was booted. Linder did the rest.

"Logan pitched a great game," said Baire. "He's our guy. He's pitched here before. This is the third time we've been down here in the past four years and I really think that helped us tonight. It also helped that we had played Charleston Catholic before (a 9-8 win in April). It's different when you come down here and play some team you know or some team you are seeing for the first time. The way we have been playing defense lately is a big departure than the way we played defense in that eight, nine-game stretch in the middle of the season. It's becoming more consistent. Our defense has gotten us to where we've been for the past five years.It's nice to see us playing defense like that again.

Nick has been phenomenal at shortstop. Some of the plays he made tonight Our outfield played well. Our infield played well and Logan pitched phenomenally. It was a great team win." And, one more to play. "We've been having fun lately," said Battista.

Madonna 6, Charleston Catholic 1

Charleston Catholic 000 100 0 - 1 6 4

Madonna 203 010 x - 6 7 3

CHARLESTON CATHOLIC: Hovorka (LP, 3K, 3BB), Hoyer (4, 2K, 1BB) and Cable; McKown S, T; Hovorka S, rbi; Lough S; Hoyer S; Rendinell S.

MADONNA: Linder (WP, 4K, 1BB) an d Duerr; Battista D, S, 2rbi; Linder D; Duerr S, rbi; Ossman D, 2rbi; Bowser S, T.

Madonna takes hold of sectional

May 10, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

GLEN DALE - Things are starting to come together at the right time for the Madonna baseball team as the Blue Dons are one victory away from a sectional championship.

Wednesday's 7-0 victory against Bishop Donahue at Monarch Field was arguably the biggest of the season. Not just because it happened in the West Virginia Region 1, Section 1 Tournament, but because it finally got the monkey off the back of the Blue Dons.

Madonna was 0-2 in the previous meetings with Bishop Donahue, including a loss in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 1A title game.

''They have played phenomenal all year, Bishop has,'' Madonna coach Jeff Baire said. ''Coach (Bob) Kleeh has done a wonderful job and you could see this coming with these guys two or three years ago.

''However, at the same time, we felt like we gave two ballgames away with them. Our focus (Wednesday) was defense, make the routine plays. Our defense shot us in the foot both times we played them. If we made the routine plays, we probably win one of those games. We wanted to play solid defense and you saw what happened.''

The Blue Dons committed an error in the seventh to avoid a spotless game. Considering that runner didn't score, no harm, no foul.

Outside of the defense, highlighted by a diving catch from Nick Battista on Garrett Yurisko in the third that turned into a double play when Bryce Jones was doubled off first, Madonna continued to hit the ball with with 10 base knocks, including an opposite-field home run by Will Bowser.

Add in solid pitching by Luca Fuscardo, who struck out nine and surrendered four singles in a complete-game shutout, and the Blue Dons clearly look poised to return to their championship form of two seasons ago.

''Luca threw a phenomenal game,'' Baire said. ''We were aggressive on the basepaths. It's the second game in a row we've thrown up more than 10 hits so the bats are coming around at the right time. Defensively, we are starting to come around. Our pitching has been there all year. 'This was probably our most complete game we've played all year.''

Madonna scored in the first on an RBI groundout by Connor Mogan for all the runs Fuscardo would need.

The Blue Dons added three in the third. A throwing error led to two runs and Ross Comis' RBI single plated the other.

Bowser's homer to left field came in the fourth inning to put Madonna up 5-0.

The Blue Dons' final runs came in the seventh as Mogan scored on a passed ball and Nick Ossman singled in Logan Linder.

In the meantime, it wasn't top-seeded Bishop Donahue's day. The lone highlight for the Bishops came when center fielder Yurisko fully extended to make a diving catch on Ossman in the third.

Bishop Donahue returns to Monarch Field at 5 p.m. today to face Wheeling Central in an elimination game. The winner plays Madonna at 5 p.m. Friday in Glen Dale.

''I will take blame for the way we played,'' Kleeh said. ''I didn't have them ready and it showed out on the field. Coach Baire had his team ready to play and Coach Kleeh didn't. We battled for this first-place section and now we are in a hole and have to win three straight to get back into it.

''We have to take it one game at a time, starting against a good Wheeling Central team. I expect Mic Keys is going to be throwing so we are going to have to put the ball in play a lot better than we did (Wednesday).''

Weirton Madonna 7, Bishop Donahue 0

Weirton Madonna 130 100 2 - 7 10 1

Bishop Donahue 000 000 0 - 0 4 1

WEIRTON MADONNA: L.Fuscardo (LP, 7K, 3BB) and Duerr. Battista 2S; Comis rbi; Linder 2S; Mogan 2S, rbi; Duerr D; Issman S, rbi; L.Fuscardo D; Bowser HR, rbi.

BISHOP DONAHUE: Ghaphery (LP, 3K, 3BB), Myers (7th, 1K, 1BB) and Riedel.

Dons win city title

May 5, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

WEIRTON - Madonna won its fourth straight city baseball championship last in a rain-shortened two and a half inning ballgame under the lights at Ed Bowman Field with a 6-0 victory over Weir High.

It was Senior Night for the home standing Blue Dons and four of the six seniors that were honored played key roles in the victory.

While senior righthander, Logan Linder, was hurling hitless ball through three innings, Nick Battista, Connor Mogan, and Chris Duerr brought out the bats. Mogan led the way with three singles and two runs batted in, Battista singled, drew two walks, stole two bases and scored three times, and Duerr rapped two singles and drove in a run.

"This was a good way to finish the regular season and go into the sectional," said Madonna coach, Jeff Baire. "We were aggressive on the bases, made the routine plays on defense and just did a lot of things well."

Madonna scored six runs in the bottom of the third inning and were still at bat when a hard rain shower forced the umpires to stop the game. It was later decided that it was futile to continue so Weir High coach, Bob Rosnick, conceded. Since the third inning wasn't complete, those six runs don't officially count.

"This game certainly isn't indicative of the Weir High team I know," Baire continued. "Coach Rosnick has had to shuffle his lineup because of injuries. However, I'm pleased with the way we have been playing since our trip to the Cleveland area last Saturday and it's a good time to be doing that."

Madonna heads into sectional play Monday at 5 p.m. at John Marshall Field in Moundsville against Wheeling Central. The winner plays top seeded Bishop Donahue on Tuesday.

"Madonna is a great team," said Rosnick, whose Red Riders also head into sectional play next week. "Linder is by far the best pitcher we have seen all year. We have some work to do before the sectional."

Weir High goes to Oak Glen Tuesday at 5 p.m. for the first of a three-game sectional series.

Madonna heads back to Charleston

May 30, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

CHARLESTON - The Madonna baseball team had an awakening, so to speak, about a month ago.

"I think it was the message that was sent," said Blue Dons coach Jeff Baire. "It was time for us to do the small things it takes to win a baseball game. It's not easy to win a baseball game.

"You have to be focused and do the small things right. If you are going to ignore the small things, you are going to lose baseball games.

"We've had innings open up because we bunted and the other teams couldn't defend the bunt."

From April 13 to April 28 the Blue Dons went 5-6, including splitting a doubleheader at Hebron Lakewood, winning the second game.

"We started the season 9-2 and had that stretch in the middle of the season where we would win one, lose won, win one, lose two," said Baire, who also said a pep rally will be held at 6 p.m. today at Lynwood Pool for the Blue Dons.

"Fundamentally we were not very sound. When we got guys on we were not moving them over and we were not getting the clutch hit.

"Our pitching has been solid all the way through the season.

"Our defense and hitting took some time to link up with our pitching."

Madonna will take its 23-9 record into Friday's West Virginia Class A state semifinal against Charleston Catholic at Appalachian Power Park. The game will start 30 minutes after the 5 p.m. tilt between East Hardy and Valley-Fayette.

The winners play Saturday in the final game of the championship tripleheader. Class AAA starts at 10 a.m. with the Class AA game starting about 45 minutes after the conclusion of that game and the Class A match-up beginning about 45 minutes after the Class AA conclusion.

Madonna beat Charleston Catholic, 9-8, on April 12. The Blue Dons held a 7-1 lead before the Irish scored six times in the bottom of the sixth to send the game into extra innings. Madonna scored two in the top of the ninth to win it.

"Our guys are familiar and comfortable with them and I am sure their guys are the same with us," said Baire. "Charleston Catholic is a phenomenal team. We know what we are going to get from them - they are fundamentally sound, their pitchers are going to throw strikes and they are going to put the ball in play.

"I am comfortable with the way that Bill (Mehle) coaches and I am sure he is comfortable with the way we coach."

In addition to the usual suspects on the schedule like Steubenville Catholic Central, Toronto, Wheeling Central, Bishop Donahue, Weir, Oak Glen and Brooke, Madonna also teed it up against John Marshall, Shadyside, Linsly, Hebron Lakewood and Morgantown.

"Going back three years ago, I didn't want our toughest game being against the team in maroon and white," said Baire. "Wheeling Central was the barometer of baseball in our class and in our state. I wanted to make sure that when we went out and played Wheeling Central or another team highly thought of in the state, we weren't awestruck.

"When you play bigger schools, they have a little bit more pitching, they are a little deeper and the quality of play is better. Those games prepare you mentally for the challenge that goes into making a state run."

Madonna lost in the state semifinals three years ago, won the state crown two years ago and lost in sectional play a year ago.

Senior Logan Linder has been there every step of the way.

"He has not sat a game in his four years here," Baire said of the University of Niagara signee. "Connor (Mogan) started to get some quality at-bats during his freshman year and has been a main contributor from his sophomore year through now.

"Logan has said it already - that last year was not a lot of fun because we got knocked out in sectionals."

So, now Madonna attempts to turn a one-game season into a two-game season.

"This is a great opportunity for our kids and a great opportunity for their kids," said Baire.

Madonna routs Cameron

May 23, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

WEIRTON - The Cameron baseball team made some mistakes last night and the Madonna Blue Dons capitalized on them to win the Region 1 semi-final game 11-1 at Ed Bowman Field.

Playing what they call "Donball," the Blue Dons put pressure on the Dragon defense in each of the four innings that they batted.

"We talked before the game about putting pressure on and being consistent with it," said victorious coach, Jeff Baire, whose team moves on the Region 1 final at the winner of today's game between Parkersburg Catholic and Gilmer County. "It is tough for the opposition defense to play when we put pressure on them, but we have a tendency this season to score some runs early and then get complacent. Sometimes we seem to think that the game is done."

The Blue Dons (22-9) scored twice in each of the first two innings and then added four tallies in the bottom of the third inning and three more in the fourth for the mercy rule victory. Six of the Dragon runs were unearned.

"It could have very easily been a 2-1 ballgame with those errors," said Cameron coach, Eric James. "There were two balls hit that were routine plays that led to six runs so we contributed to our own demise. Then, their pitcher had us back on our heels offensively."

He was referring to Blue Don sophomore lefthander, Luca Fuscardo. Although he threw a total of 92 pitches in the five innings he pitched, Fuscardo limited the Dragons to three hits. He walked four and struck out five.

"Luca did a nice job, but he struggled a little with his pitch count by not working ahead of the batters," Baire explained. "When pitchers do that, it gives the batter a big advantage. We have stressed that with our pitchers all season. Tonight, when Luca worked ahead of the hitters he had very little trouble."

Ryan Hughes was the losing pitcher yielding 10 hits and three walks. He struck out two and hit a batter.

The Blue Dons jumped on the board early with Nick Battista and Ross Comis, the first two batters ripping the first two pitches that Hughes threw. Comis' hit was a double.

After an out, Connor Mogan worked Hughes for a walk to load the bases for senior catcher Chris Duerr, who laced the first pitch he saw to center field driving home Battista and Comis.

Cameron got one of the runs back in the top of the second when Fuscardo walked Ivan Hall on four pitches to open the inning. Austin Pegg followed with a single to left field as Hall stopped at second base. Duerr attempted a throw down to second, but it got away from shortstop, Battista allowing Hall to get to third base. He scored on a Blue Don error.

Comis, who had two hits, scored two runs and drove in another, scored behind Dan Pietranton in the second inning when a Logan Linder ground ball to second base was muffed for one of the routine plays that James was walking about.

It was not a good day for the Cameron second baseman as he had a high popup go off his glove in the bottom of the third inning with the bases loaded. With two outs, all three of the Blue Dons were on the move and scored as the ball caromed into center field.

"This is a tough place for us to play," said James, whose team finished with a 20-9 record. "Madonna has been here before and knows how to play in the playoffs and I believe they will go a long way. But I don't want this game to take away from the hard work my kids have put in all season to win 20 games."

Battista, Comis and Mogan each contributed two hits while Linder, Nick Ossman, Duerr, Fuscardo and Will Bowser each delivered a hit. Duerr drove in two runs while Battista, Fuscardo and Bowser each knocked one home.

"While we didn't expect to win this game by 10 runs, we feel the potential this team has could do it," Baire added. "When you look at our lineup with veteran players from top to bottom, we have everyone that can hit. I think a lot of it is the mental approach that we need to have like we had today putting that pressure on the opponents."

Madonna 11, Cameron 1

Cameron 010 00 - 1 3 3

Madonna 224 3x - 11 10 2

CAMERON: Hughes (LP, 2K, 3BB) and Neely. M. Walker 2S; Pegg S; Hall R.

MADONNA: L. Fuscardo (WP, 5K, 4BB) and Duerr. Battista S, D, RBI, R; Comis S, D, 2R; Mogan 2S, 2R; Duerr S, 2RBI; Ossman S; Fuscardo S, RBI, R; Bowser S, RBI, R; Pietranton 2R.

Madonna lays claim to sectional championship

May 12, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

GLEN DALE - With its back against the wall and facing season-ending elimination, Bishop Donahue's baseball team played with fire all game long before finally getting burned by Weirton Madonna Friday afternoon.

Nick Ossman belted a pair of long home runs and Chris Duerr chased home the game-winning runs with a two-run double in the top of the seventh as the Blue Dons rallied for a cherished 7-5 victory over the Bishops in the West Virginia Class A, Region 1, Section 1 championship game at John Marshall High School.

The victory sends Coach Jeff Baire's Madonna squad into regional play on May 22 at 5:30 p.m. against Cameron in Weirton.

Starting, and losing pitcher, Wylie Koontz broke a 4-4 deadlock in the bottom of the sixth, but the assist had to go to Phillip Smith. Garrett Yurisko had singled leading off the frame, went to second on a fielder's choice and third when Smith reached on an error.

With one down Koontz hit a grounder to short for what looked like an inning-ending double-play, but Smith took out the second baseman allowing Yurisko to score, making it 5-4.

However, a Donahue gift in the top of the seventh managed to turn the tables and lead to victory for the Dons. After Nick Battista reached on a fielder's choice, Ross Comis singled to put runners at first and third with one down. But a roller to second, and possible double-play ball, was booted, loading the bases.

Battista scored to tie the game on a wild pitch before Duerr's two-run double into the left-center field gap provided the eventual game-winners.

"They made some good plays in the field and we missed a couple of signs early, but we finally put some pressure on them in the seventh," a relieved Baire mentioned. "We really have been doing a good job in the later innings the last couple of weeks."

Donahue Head Coach Bob Kleeh, knew his team was living on the edge, but was also hoping for the best.

"We dodged some bullets all game long," Kleeh admitted. "And we had plenty of opportunities of our own, but we made a couple of mistakes and they were able to cash in on them in the seventh and they just got it done."

After Madonna took a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first on Comis' run-scoring single, Donahue used three fielder's choices, an error and RBI singles from Phillip Smith and Alex Riedel to take a 3-1 lead.

But Ossman tied the score at 3-3 when he followed a lead-off walk to Duerr with a shot deep over the left field fence for a 3-3 count.

While Donahue received two-out singles from Yurisko and Kyle Gillis in both the second and fourth frames and Madonna stranded a runner in scoring position in each of the third and fourth frames, the score remained deadlocked until the fifth.

After the Blue Dons collected three singles, but failed to score in the top of the fifth, Koontz took matters into his own hands in the bottom of the frame, breaking the tie with a lead-off bomb over the left field fence and a 4-3 Bishop Donahue upper hand.

It looked like the Bishops might do more damage in the frame with a little help from the Dons. Donahue loaded the bases on a wild pitch on a third strike, an error and a walk. But Tory Fuscardo relieved starter Connor Mogan with one out and induced a double-play grounder on his first pitch to end the threat.

"Tory Fuscardo set up everything that ended up happening in the end with just one pitch in the fifth inning," Baire smiled. "He gets the double-play on a ball that if we don't make the play we are probably down at least two runs late. Mentally that is a whole different hurdle than the one we overcame."

For the second time in the contest Ossman came to his team's rescue and knotted the count with a home run. This time a one-out, solo shot to left-center in the top of the sixth to make it 4-4.

"The two home runs that Nick Ossman hit were just absolutely huge," Baire continued. "He is a gamer, but he has been struggling a little lately. We worked on a couple things in practice on Thursday and they really paid off in this game. I have always said that if Nick can just finish his swings, he is going to do some damage.

"Overall, we did a better job fielding the ball (Friday) and it made a world of difference. But you have to give Bishop Donahue a whole lot of credit. They have hit us all season long and they had a great season. That team is so improved and I am very impressed with the job that Bob (Kleeh) has done with those kids."

While Kleeh wished to congratulate the Blue Dons and wish them well in the regional, he was also very complimentary of his own team.

"Wylie Koontz did a heck of a job on the mound for us," Kleeh said. "There really is nothing more I could have asked from him. He did not pitch more than an inning in a game all year long and we just went with him. It just didn't work out, but we had our chances.

"These kids have so much heart and they battled all day. For them to play like they did in a do-or-die situation, it just really shows how much character they all have."

Logan Linder pitched the final two innings to get the win on the mound, even though he allowed a run in the sixth that tied the game. Koontz, meanwhile, took the hard-luck loss, fanning four and walking just a pair.

Madonna actually put the lead-off man on base in every inning except the sixth, however, that batter was only able to score in the first and second frames.

Weirton Madonna 7, Bishop Donahue 5

Weirton Madonna 120 001 3 - 7 11 4

Bishop Donahue 300 011 0 - 5 11 3

WEIRTON MADONNA: Mogan (6K, 1BB), T.Fuscardo (5, 0K, 0BB), Linder (WP, 6, 2K, 0BB) and Duerr; Battista 3S; Comis 2S, rbi; Ossman 2HR, 3rbi; Duerr S, D, 2rbi.

BISHOP DONAHUE: Koontz (LP, 4K, 2BB) and Riedel; Smith S, rbi; Riedel 3S, rbi; Yurisko 3S; Gillis 2S; Koontz HR, 2rbi.

Madonna’s small ball earns a victory

May 8, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

GLEN DALE - Weirton Madonna did a little bit of everything in Monday's 10-4 victory against Wheeling Central.

Logan Linder struck out nine in earning a victory, Chris Duerr got the scoring started with a home run over the right-field fence and the Blue Dons went error-free with some fundamentally sound defense.

But what pleased Coach Jeff Baire the most was the small ball.

Weirton Madonna scored seven runs in the fifth inning on six hits - only one left the infield - in the opening game of the West Virginia Section One Tournament at Monarch Field.

''We did a good job of putting pressure on the defense,'' Baire said. ''What happened with us was we would get guys on second or third and we'd have guys who would traditionally not come through. So instead of taking a chance on having no runs scored, we decided to try and push a few across.

''Other people do it to us and we work on it in practice all the time. It was time we started doing it. We have been fortunate with Max Nogay and Louie Comis where we didn't have to play small ball. This year, a little bit different team and we are starting to change our approach.''

Weirton Madonna returns to Monarch Field at 5 p.m. today to face No. 1 seed Bishop Donahue. The Bishops won the two previous meetings, including winning the OVAC Class 1A title.

Wheeling Central will play the loser of that game Wednesday in an elimination contest.

The Blue Dons went into the fifth inning leading 2-0 following a Duerr homer in the second and Ross Comis coming around to score on a throwing error in the third.

Dan Pietranton led off the fifth with a walk, followed by back-to-back bunt singles by Nick Battista and Comis. Linder drew a bases-loaded walk, followed by a two-run single up the middle by Connor Mogan.

Wheeling Central coach Jimbo Wodusky replaced starter Nick Naumann with Kyle Phair, but the result was much of the same.

Phair was welcomed by a two-run single from Luca Fuscardo. Nick Ossman scored on a groundout from Will Bowser and Pietranton singled in Fuscardo in his second at-bat of the inning as the Blue Dons went up 9-0.

''I have been saying it since I've been a head coach that in Single-A baseball, you have to learn how to play small ball,'' Wodusky said. ''In order to play small ball, you have to be able to defend it. We couldn't defend it so we got ourselves in a hole so big that we couldn't even play it and took us out of our game plan.''

Wheeling Central couldn't get anything going against Linder and it wasn't until Baire went to Tory Fuscardo that the Maroon Knights were able to score any runs.

Phair hit a bases-clearing double off Fuscardo (although the runs are charged to Linder) but it was a little too late.

''(Linder) was on,'' Wodusky said. ''He was hitting the corners. His slider was biting, his curveball was biting, his fastball was working and we weren't having very good at-bats early. He is probably the best in the class and it's tough to overcome especially when you let him get ahead of you.''

Wodusky still believes his young team can bounce back and avoid elimination Wednesday and win the sectional. Baire would like to see his team finally get one on the Bishops and let the two rivals battle it out.

''They are going to come out and be really sound,'' Baire said of Bishop Donahue.

''What we have to do, and what hurt us against them before, is making the routine play.

''If we can do that, it is going to be another great game. Great game No. 3.''

Weirton Madonna 10, Wheeling Central 4

Wheeling Central 000 003 1 - 4 9 3

Weirton Madonna 011 071 x - 10 12 0

WHEELING CENTRAL: Naumann (LP, 3K, 2BB), Phair (5, 0K, 2BB) and Yocke; Keys 3S, rbi; Phair D, 3rbi

WEIRTON MADONNA: Linder (WP, 9K, 3BB), T.Fuscardo (6, 1K, 1BB) and Duerr; Battista 2S; Comis 3S; Linder rbi; Mogan S, D, 2rbi; Duerr HR, 2rbi; Ossman 2S; L.Fuscardo S, 2rbi; Bowser rbi; Pietranton S, rbi.

December 26, 2010 – 05:00 PM

Donball Alumni Gold Glove Classic

Past players of the program are invited to come participate in the first annual "Donball Alumni Gold Glove Classic." This will be held on December 26 at 5 PM in the Madonna Gym. Bring a glove and some gym clothes to throw and take ground balls, or just come and hang out for awhile. There will be a friendly "Gold Glove" competition to close out the event.
WV State Seminfal - 8 Innings
Madonna 10
East Hardy 9 
Going ... going ... gone
By ASHLEY NEWMAN, Sports writer, Weirton Daily Times
CHARLESTON — Adversity is a fact of life. It can’t be controlled. What athletes can control is how they react to it. On Friday morning at Appalachian Power Park in the West Virginia Class A state semifinal against East Hardy, the Weirton Madonna baseball team faced more adversity in one game than most squads do in an entire season. The Blue Dons — refusing to succumb to the many obstacles thrown in front of them — finished off a stunning comeback performance when senior Lou Comis hit a towering one-out two-run walk-off home run to left field in the bottom of the eighth frame to give Madonna a 10-9 victory. While the Dons’ faithful that had made the trek south to Charleston cheered wildly when Comis rounded the bases, the senior let his emotions go as he was greeted by teammates awaiting him at home plate. “I thought it was a pop fly to left field,” Comis said of the game-ending hit. “It just kept carrying and I just kept watching that left fielder go back. I saw that it had enough air under it to get it over that left field wall. “I really couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a pop fly. It just kept going and it was an awesome feeling.” Comis relied on timely advice given to him just before the at-bat as East Hardy pitcher Kolby Foltz prepared to deliver the offering. “(Foltz) got down in the count 3-1. I remembered that coach Baire had said ‘one pitch, one spot,’ ” Comis said. “He grooved it and I was fortunate enough to get enough contact on the ball to get it over that left field wall.” While Comis’ bomb ended things, it was far from the lone heroic feat turned in by the Blue Dons on this day. Just to get the game into extra innings required a shocking turn-of-events. Madonna entered the bottom of the seventh inning staring a 7-2 deficit in the face. With an offense that had struggled with East Harder starting pitcher Jamie Miller all game long and just three outs to work with, the outcome seemed all but decided. The only problem for the Cougars was that someone forgot to tell Madonna that its season was over. Senior Max Nogay summed up his team’s mindset going into the bottom of the seventh. “We were determined to come back,” he said. “In the seventh inning, we were down by five and we just weren’t going to give up. The underclassmen wanted to send (the seniors) out with a win and we want to give them a championship and bring one back for our school.” Comis echoed Nogay’s sentiments. “It was tough to get up in the dugout and I looked at Max and said, ‘this isn’t our last high school baseball game. Let’s make it count and, if we go down, we are going down swinging,’ ” he said. “We had to get runs any way that we could.” Leadoff man Chris Eloi started the improbable rally with a single, but Austin Pitchok grounded out for the first out. That is when the Blue Dons’ offense went into high gear. Nogay drilled a single to center before Logan Linder drew a walk to load the bases. Comis then began his dream finish by smacking a three-run double to center, cutting the lead to 7-5. Suddenly, the improbable seemed possible. Connor Mogan knocked in Comis with a single to make the score 7-6, but Eddie Nogay struck out to bring the Blue Dons to its final out in the form of Ryan Mendanhall. The sophomore — who came in batting .213 — belted a sharp ground ball to East Hardy first baseman Tyler Kerr. The ball skipped through the legs of Kerr and into left field and Mogan hustled around third to beat the throw at home, tying the score and sending the Madonna faithful into a frenzy. “We told them that nobody makes the last out,” Baire said of his team entering the final frame. “A couple of guys said when they were coming off of the field (in the top of the seventh) that it doesn’t end this way and this isn’t how it is supposed to end. We just told everyone to battle and get good approaches at the plate. If you get a good pitch to hit, swing the bat and see what happens. “We were fortunate enough to have a few of those things fall in there for hits. What a game.” A.J. Klein hit a pop fly to end the inning and send the game into extras and Kerr quickly made up for his two-out gaffe. Miller hit a single to start the top of the eighth for before Madonna reliever Ed Nogay forced a bunt attempt by Kolby Foltz into a foul tip and catcher Comis made a sliding grab for the first out. However, Kerr quickly turned the Blue Dons’ momentum back to the Cougars’ favor, crushing the Nogay offering to deep right field for a two-run home run that put East Hardy back in front, 9-7. Nogay recovered to retire the next two batters, but the damage had been done and the Blue Dons once again faced tremendous adversity and their final three outs. Baire remained confident as he conveyed to his team what it needed to do. “To have the great diving catch that Lou (Comis) made and then have (Kerr) come back and hit that two-run homer, that was a killer,” he said. “But, it was the same type of thing as in the seventh inning. “When they came off of the field, we just told them that we don’t have to get five this inning. We only have to get two. “We had the 2-3-4 hitters up and we were right where we wanted to be as far as the lineup is concerned. Again, it was about taking good swings, hitting the ball hard, and seeing what would happen.” Comis also noted the swing of emotions in the eighth inning. “I’ve been thinking all year that, sometimes when guys try to bunt, they pop it up,” he said of his diving effort for the first out. “That was a great time for it to happen, but then (Kerr) blasted that two-run shot over right field. The whole team took a deep breath after that, because we had just come back after being down five runs in the bottom of the seventh and now we had to deal with this. “We just figured that we had a good part of the lineup coming up with the No. 2 batter and we had to try to get runs any way that we could.” Comis’ intuition was correct. Max Nogay got the game-winning rally started with a one-out triple to right-center and Linder followed with an RBI single to cut the lead to one and set up Comis’ walkoff shot. “What a swing of emotions,” Baire commented. “Nothing that these guys do surprises me and that goes for any of the seniors. What a game. “I didn’t think that Louie’s hit was going to get out of here. I thought that it was going to get deep enough that we were going to be able to move Logan (Linder) over to third base and then we could tie it up in many different ways, whether it be a passed ball or whatever. “But, when I saw that thing go out, I couldn’t believe it. I knew he hit it hard, based upon how high the ball went and it sounded good coming off of the bat, but I thought that he got under it too much.” East Hardy finishes its season with a 26-9 record. “I don’t know if our pitchers got tired or what, but they have a very good offensive team,” East Hardy head coach Raymond Snapp said. “I’m proud of my team and all they have accomplished this year. Being as young as we were, I was surprised at how well they handled themselves down here. That is especially true when you factor in us coming off of a 7-14 season last year.” Eddie Nogay earned the win for Madonna, striking out two and walking none in two innings of work. Max Nogay started the game on the mound and threw the first four innings before Linder came on in relief. The win propels the Blue Dons (24-7) into today’s Class A state title game, set to begin at approximately 2:30 p.m. at Appalachian Power Park against Man, who won its semifinal game convincingly, 16-5, over Fayetville. “We are going to spend a little bit of time talking about how we waited a little bit too long before we decided that we were going to focus in,” Baire said. “When the pitcher is throwing away, we have to drive the ball away. We wait too long in the game to do that. “Today, fortunately for us, it wasn’t too late. But, it was almost too late. We have to do a little better job of making that adjustment early in the game.” With Max Nogay out of innings and not an option for Baire on the mound, he will look to his other hurlers to battle the Hillbillies. “Eddie (Nogay) will be starting for us and I have Logan (Linder), Brian Mendenhall and Connor Mogan that can throw,” Baire said. “I have plenty of arms. We will start with Eddie and go from there.” Comis is looking forward to today’s matchup. “The goal in all sports is to get to the state final and it is just a great feeling to get there,” he said. (Newman can be contacted at

State Champions

 Madonna wins Class A title by 25 shots

October 7, 2010 - By MIKE MATHISON, sports editor


WHEELING - State champs.


The Madonna golf team won the West Virginia Class A state title Wednesday at Oglebay Park by a whopping 25 shots and Andrew Gobleck led the way.The junior shot 74-75 to win the class by 18 shots and was the medalist of all 120 players, beating Wheeling Park freshman Thadd Obecny by four.

"It's a really good feeling," Gobleck said of being the overall medalist. "I thought about that before the tournament started."

That paced the Blue Dons to a 509 total, three better than a year ago when they finished runners-up, and 25 better than Charleston Catholic (the defending champs) and 32 in front of Parkersburg Catholic.

"The weather wasn't fun, but surprisingly I played well today," said Gobleck. "I had a feeling I could play well yesterday, but I think doing that the second day is a little harder because you have all that pressure on you. I told myself to play my normal game, how I played yesterday. "I started off by making a crazy up-and-down for par on my first hole after hitting a terrible drive. I made a ton of par saves today. I had no birdies - all pars and four bogeys.

"I knew if I played my normal game I would be fine. "I was hoping we all would play solid today so we could get our team the win."

"Andrew was steady all year," said Blue Dons coach T.J. Brancazio. "In these conditions, it was an incredible round."

Along with Gobleck's 149, senior Pat McCune shot 85-92, freshman Michael Rogers 92-91 and junior Nicklas Battista 94-92.

"We're the first team to do this in school history, how can it get better?" said McCune. "If I played a little better, it would have been better. This is awesome. "We knew we had to the team to do this. We knew we had the talent. And, of course, we had Andrew shoot 74-75. That just carried this team. He played awesome." McCune's 92 included an 11 and a triple bogey. "I played good," he said. "I thought I was going to shoot in the low 80s. But, it's all about the team." McCune and Battista split the rounds last year with McCune playing the first round and Battista the second.

Gobleck led the Class A all-tournament team with David Miller (Charleston Catholic), Shane Livingston (Wheeling Central), Patrick Thomas (Trinity), Cory Hoshor (Buffalo), Aaron Persily (Charleston Catholic), Thomas Dransfield (St. Joseph) and Tyler Seitz (Trinity.)

Although the weather was bad Wednesday with rain and a high around 50 degrees, it was better than last week when the Blue Dons won the region championship at Williams Country Club.

"That day got us experience for today," said Battista. "It was also slow out there. Every hole we had to wait. It was tough." 

"Last week got me ready for today," said Rogers, who admitted to nerves in the tournament. "It was a good experience."

"I think playing in stuff like this last week was good for us," said Gobleck. "It got us used to the rain. You really can't swing with all of this on, but you have to get used to it."

"In the regionals, the rain was 10 times worse than this," said McCune. "It was colder here, but it rained harder last week."

Of course, having a 17-shot lead doesn't hurt when there is inclement weather. Brancazio said at the beginning of the season that he had lofty goals for his squad and a state championship headed the list. "It's nice when you set a goal and get to accomplish it," he said. "The kids worked hard."

Gobleck, Battista and Rogers have the chance to return next year to defend the title. "Last year we said we wanted to come out and do this and we did," said Battista. "A lot of people don't get the opportunity in life to repeat and we have that opportunity next year."

"I'm going to be working as hard as I can every summer," said Rogers. "I had fun here. It was a good experience.":

"I've wanted this team title since my freshman year," said Gobleck. "My freshman year we didn't make it and last year we were runner-up. This year, it feels pretty good to finally get the win. "This is a good feeling.

"I'm pretty pumped that we did this so now we can come back next year and try to live it all over again."

"Charleston Catholic says they win every other year, so it's going to be tough next year," Brancazio said. "We're going to give it our best next year.

"I'm really proud of the kids."

(Mathison can be contacted at


WV CLASS A STATE SEMIFINALPlay by Play & Commentator proudly provided by METRONEWS A Service of Priority Communications Ohio, LLC on WEIR 1430. 
CLICK HERE --> Madonna vs. East Hardy
June 4, 2010 – 10:00 AM
LISTEN LIVE! WV State Semifinals @ Appalachian Power Park, Charleston. Madonna vs. East Hardy. Game broadcast on WEIR 1430.
June 2, 2010
Madonna Baseball Pep Rally - June 2, 2010
When: Wednesday, June 2, 2010    6-8 pm
Where: Lynnwood Pool
State Tournament shirts will be available for $10. Food and drinks will be provided.
Come out and support our Boys!!!
May 27, 2010
Blue Dons take Region 1
By Mike Mathison, sports editor, Weirton Daily Times

WILLIAMSTOWN — Lou Comis laid down a sacrifice bunt, Eddie and Max Nogay combined to toss a dozen strikeouts, Ryan Mendenhall ripped a solo blast and Chris Eloi, Connor Mogan and A.J. Klein each had two hits and the Madonna baseball team will pack its bags for Charleston next week. The Nogay brothers allowed host Williamstown zero runs in the final six innings of Thursday’s 8-2 victory in the West Virginia Class A Region 1 championship. The victory, Madonna’s 23rd against seven defeats, gives the Blue Dons, No. 1 in the state, a return trip to Charleston next week, where they will face East Hardy at 10 a.m. on June 4 in the state championship semifinals at Appalachian Power Park. Comis came to the plate in the top of the fourth inning with a 6-2 lead, looked down to coach Jeff Baire and saw the bunt sign. After taking a ball, he looked down to the third base coaching box and Baire relayed the same information. So, the Blue Dons’ No. 5 hitter laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, moving teammates Max Nogay (single) and Logan Linder (error) to second and third, respectively. Mogan stepped up and rocketed Lane Knost’s 0-1 pitch for a double to the fence in left center, scoring Nogay and Linder for the last two runs. “I was getting their pitcher timed up,” said Comis. “I had hit it to the third baseman the first two times I was up and I was ready for him this time. I saw the bunt and there was no going against it. We’ve been working on our bunting the last few weeks at practice and it really paid off. “I saw it, got it to the ground and it ended up paying off because C. Mogs hit an opposite field bomb to the fence. That was good. “Coach Baire always says it’s the small things. That’s what wins you games like that.” “It was a situation where we had first and second with nobody out and any time you’re playing in a game to go to the state tournament, you want to try to score as many runs as you can,” said Baire. “I had confidence in Connor Mogan coming up behind him to at least put solid contact on the ball and he comes up and rips the ball off the fence. “Yeah, it was our No. 5 guy, but you do what you have to do to win a ballgame. This was to get us down to states and Lou understood that. He did a heck of a job getting the ball down.” Madonna scored twice in the top of the first. Chris Eloi started the game by lacing the first pitch for a single. Austin Pitchok walked, but was erased by Max Nogay’s fielder’s choice. Nogay stole second and Eloi trotted home on the bad throw to get Nogay. Comis hit one that was booted and Nogay came in. Williamstown responded in the bottom of the first. Trey Kind tripled, came home on Collin Miller’s double and he scored on David Huggins’ groundout. But, that was it for the Yellowjackets, who were making their eighth regional title game appearance. ‘‘Every year, you end up going against pitching, and Madonna outpitched us today,’’ said Williamstown coach Terry Smith. ‘‘We only got the two runs and in big games the closer you get to the state, good pitching always slows down good hitting. ‘‘In games like this against good teams, you’ve got to score more than two runs and you can’t give them runs either, like we did today.’’ Max Nogay earned the win. He had six strikeouts and two walks in four innings, while Ed struck out six and walked a pair in the last three innings. They allowed Williamstown four singles, three of them with two outs. “I wasn’t hitting my spots and was a little wild,” said Max Nogay. “But, this team fought back for me and put up a lot of runs.” “Coach Baire is always talking about pitching with the lead,” said Eddie Nogay. “When you have active bats like we did today, Richard’s home run and everyone is ripping the ball all over the place, you just have to come in and throw strikes and trust your defense and if they (the batters) miss it, that’s extra.” “Eddie works fast,” said Baire. “He gets the ball and gets it to the plate. Eddie is more of a command pitcher where Max is more of a thrower. Max came in with a reputation and we tried to ride that to a win and it definitely worked. Any time you’re in a situation where something has to happen, you can’t ask for someone better to have out there than Max. “We knew that we were going to start Max and ride him for as long as we could. He hit about 93 pitches at the end of four innings and we decided to go to Eddie. We talked to Eddie yesterday, told him he was first in relief. I told them both we were going to have a very short leash.” Madonna’s Ryan Mendenhall blasted a one-out solo shot in the top of the second inning to bring momentum back to the visitor’s dugout and a 3-2 lead. “Off and on he’s been kind of struggling a little bit, but if you put one in his wheelhouse, it’s gone and that one was gone,” said Comis. “I think that just took all the confidence Williamstown had right out of them and we jumped on them when we had them down,” said Max Nogay. A.J. Klein singled after Mendenhall’s shot, stole second and went to third on the bad throw. Eloi walked and stole second. Klein scored on Pitchok’s groundout and Eloi came in on Linder’s grounder. “I just try to make every play I can,” said Klein, who missed last year with a knee injury suffered in football. “I’m here to help the team out.” Madonna added one in the third when Mogan started the inning with a single. Eloi singled him in two outs later. (Mathison can be contacted at Madonna 8, Williamstown 2 Madonna 231 200 0 — 8 8 0 Williamstown 200 000 0 — 2 6 4 MADONNA (23-7): M. Nogay (WP, 6K, 2 BB), E. Nogay (5th, 6K, 2BB) and Comis; Eloi 2-1B, RBI; Pitchok RBI; Mogan 1B, 2B, 2RBI; Mendenhall HR, RBI; Klein 2-1B; Linder RBI; M. Nogay 1B; WILLIAMSTOWN (27-4): Knost (LP, 7K, 7BB), MacIver (0K, 0BB) and Flanagan; King 3B; Miller 2B, RBI; Huggins 1B, RBI; Yeager 1B; Flanagan 1B; MacIver 1B.
WTRF 7 Coverage of Regional Championship Win over Williamstown!
Congratulations to Coach Don Thorp(Coach Baire's High School Coach):
All-Advocate Baseball Coach of the Year: Thorp's tradition stands test of time
BY TOM WILSON • Sports Writer • June 20, 2010, Newark Advocate
HEBRON -- In more than 35 years as baseball coach at Lakewood, Don Thorp has seen a lot of changes.
While he's tried to change with the times, one thing has remained the same for Thorp: He remains a traditionalist at heart.

He demands a lot out of his players and expects them to play the game the right way.

"Some things have definitely changed over the years, but some things haven't," Thorp said. "Shoot, I used to not even allow the kids to ever talk on the bus, but if I did that today, I'd probably get prosecuted.

"Kids are a little different today and they have more to do, but the fact remains that hustle and desire are still a big part of the game. It was when I started, and it still is today."

Thorp, who has won three state championships and has the state record for most coaching victories with 846, led the Lancers to the Division II state tournament for the sixth time.

Lakewood also won the Mid-State League-Ohio Division title, and at one point during the regular season, the Lancers won 20 consecutive games.

It made Thorp The Advocate's 2010 Baseball Coach of the Year.

"There has to be a hunger and a passion to play the game well," Thorp said. "There are so many competitive teams nowadays that it's a big deal just to win a district title, so we don't take anything we accomplish for granted.

"I saw little signals at the beginning of the year from our team. Kids wanting to stay after practice to do extra hitting and things like that. I knew then they had a passion for the game and wanted to be successful -- which is what it takes."

Even though Thorp is demanding, his players respect what he's accomplished, and they know he has their best interests at heart.

"I remember coming to games when I was little, and I could tell he was all business. I really thought he was mean," Lakewood senior pitcher Justin White said. "I give him a lot of credit for turning things around for me.

"I wasn't taking things very serious when I was a freshman, but he really got my head on straight. He told me I could do special things. He really inspired me."

Classmate Bryan Large added: "He obviously knows the game because he's the winningest coach in Ohio high school baseball. He has so much knowledge that just pulls you through everyday. Anytime you have a coach that knows so much about the game like he does, that's a huge advantage."

With a huge senior class that had big expectations because many contributed as freshmen, Thorp hoped that experience would pay off.

"Things fell into place for us early in the season," Thorp said. "We beat Steubenville 18-0, and they went on to win 22 games. Our kids showed what they could do against a pretty good team. And then we beat Heath twice in one day, and confidence continued to grow.

"The most enjoyable part for me was being around the kids and watching them grasp things -- the things they needed to do to get better. Those types of things make it enjoyable for me. This was a fun group to be around, and they were very inspiring to me."

Tom Wilson can be reached at (740) 328-8558 or

May 25, 2010
Madonna hits 4 homers in regional semifinal
By JIM ELLIOTT, special to the Herald-Star

CAMERON — While it’s true Cameron’s Clouston Park gives up a cheap homer now and then, some of the balls the guys from Weirton Madonna hit Tuesday would have been out of Oglebay Park. Logan Linder hit two home runs and pitched the first four innings of a no-hitter and Austin Pitchok and Max Nogay also added long home runs as Weirton Madonna blanked Cameron 13-0 in a West Virginia Class A Region One Semifinal. Nearly buried nine days earlier by Wheeling Central in sectional play, the Blue Dons are now one victory away from a return trip to the state tournament in Charleston. In order to get there, though, they’ll have to get past a Williamstown team that won its regional semifinal, 21-2, in five innings Tuesday night against Wirt County. First things first. Madonna coach Jeff Baire knows Clouston’s dimensions well, so he worked on the psychological aspect of hitting there as soon as the Blue Dons found out that’s where they’d play next. ‘‘That was a challenge all week,’’ Baire said. ‘‘We talked about maintaining good swings, not swinging for the fence, swinging to make good solid contact and I think we did that.’’ Linder opened the scoring with an opposite-field homer to right-center in the top of the second. After Ryan Mendenhall’s hustling double drove in the second run, Pitchock ripped a two-run homer to left. Nogay’s no-doubt homer — his ninth of the season — brought in three runs in the fourth. Linder added a two-run shot in the fifth, one that was clearly helped by ‘‘the friendly confines of Cameron,’’ as Baire put it. ‘‘This is obviously not a pitcher’s ballpark as you’re looking at 255 (feet) in left field,’’ Cameron coach Eric James pointed out. ‘‘When you give up a two-run shot here, a three-run shot there, it adds up. If you couple that with not getting hits on your own part, that tells the tale.’’ Indeed, as Madonna was busy belting out 13 hits — everyone in the lineup reached base at least once — the Dragons sent just one batter above the minimum to the plate. One of those runners was erased on a double play; the other left stranded at third. ‘‘They’re one of the few teams in the valley — and I think the other one is probably Linsly — that are pretty tough 1-through-9 in the order,’’ James said of the Blue Dons. ‘‘You can’t pitch around anybody.’’ In his four innings on the mound, Linder struck out two and walked two. Eddie Nogay came on to work the fifth and polished off the no-no with a 1-2-3 fifth. The still very young Dragons ended the season at an even 16-16. ‘‘It was a learning experience for our guys,’’ James said. ‘‘But I told them, this isn’t a sad, sorry speech or anything like that. What we’re doing, we’re going to learn from it, and we’re going to build. I told them, ‘as I stand here in front of you kids, that’s going to be us.’ ‘’ ‘‘This year was a turning point for this program. I fully believe that.’’ Madonna 13, Cameron 0 Weirton Madonna 014 35 — 13 13 1 Cameron 000 00 — 0 0 2 WEIRTON MADONNA: Linder (WP, 2K, 2BB), Nogay (5th, 0K, 0BB) and Comis; Eloi 2-1B, 2RBI; Pitchok HR, 2RBI; Nogay 1B, HR, 4RBI; Linder 2HR, 3RBI; Comis 1B, RBI; Mendenhall 1B, 2B, RBI. Klein 1B. CAMERON: Hughes (LP, 3K, 2BB), Walker (4th 1K, 0BB) and Neely.
May 21, 2010
OVAC Coach of the Year!!!
Congrats to Coach Baire on being voted by OVAC coaches as the 2010 OVAC Baseball Coach of the Year!!
~From your Asst. Coaches and Players

Six-run inning sends Madonna past Man
By Ryan Pritt, Charleston Gazzette

Charleston's Class A minor-league baseball team wasn't on the field, but for one inning at least, there was no Power outage in the Class A high school state championship game between Madonna and Man on Saturday afternoon.

The Blue Dons launched two home runs and a double that hit the top of the wall as the team piled up seven hits and six runs in the top of the fifth inning on their way to an 8-3 victory over the Hillbillies at Appalachian Power Park. Saturday's fifth inning resembled Madonna's five-run outburst in the bottom of the seventh inning Friday that sent its semifinal game against East Hardy into extra innings, where the Blue Dons eventually came out on top. Eddie Nogay, the winning pitcher and hitter of a two-run blast on Saturday, said that Friday's offensive explosion carried into the title game.

"I think it started last night in the seventh inning," Nogay said. "We realized the more you hit, the easier it is to win. If you score runs, you can't lose. You can't lose if you outhit the other team." Early on, it looked as if that exact thing would happen to the Blue Dons. The Hillbillies (26-11) scored all three of their runs in the first three innings, with only one hit on the scoreboard. Meanwhile, Madonna tallied four hits but was held scoreless through the first four innings.

Nogay and the Madonna defense contributed as much to the Man offense as the Hillbillies' bats did. Man was able to load the bases in the third inning on two errors by Blue Dons third baseman Austin Pitchock and a walk by Nogay. Duke Vance and Evan Riggins each drew a walk with the bases loaded, bringing in two runs and putting Nogay on the ropes. But Tyler Grimmett popped out to the catcher to end the threat, and as it would turn out, the scoring for Man. Nogay tossed five innings and gave up three runs (one earned) on one hit and four walks and struck out five, including the side in the fourth. Both coaches agreed that his performance was a huge key to the game. "It's what we've come to expect out of Eddie in the three years he's been here," said Madonna coach Jeff Baire. "He has over 20 wins and five losses in his career. This was a typical Eddie outing, it's what we expect of him."

"He was effectively wild I guess you could say," said Man coach Larry Vance. "We scored three runs and had only one hit, but at the time there were probably six or seven walks in there. But [Nogay] battled back. He threw two innings yesterday and came out in this heat and threw five again today. He battled back and did what he needed to do as a senior to get his team to where they're at right now."

Where the Blue Dons are right now is a pretty familiar place. Madonna defeated Man in the Class A football state championship game in the fall, but even as the trophies pile up, Nogay insists that winning titles never gets old.

"It's amazing, my brother [Max] played three varsity sports and was a state champion in football, wrestling, and baseball. I was a state champ in football and baseball," said Nogay. "To win states is the best thing you can do as a high school athlete. I thank God, I feel truly blessed."


While it seems to be raining championships in Weirton, the Hillbillies' dubious distinction of never winning a state title in a boys sport was prolonged Saturday. Vance insists that after two straight championship game appearances in baseball and one in football, the streak will be over sooner than later. "We're definitely proud of them," said Vance. "If we keep coming back, eventually we'll get one, that will have to be our motto. There's nothing to be ashamed of; they're a great team, but today Madonna was just a little bit better and they're a great team also." Jordan Simpson took the loss for Man, yielding six runs (four earned) on 10 hits and a walk while striking out two in 42/3 innings. Simpson was effective early until the wheels fell off in the fifth inning, one Simpson didn't make it out of.

"Jordan got a little bit tired there and I kept him in too long," said Vance. "We were one out away from him getting out of that inning and then making the switch. Then something happens in high school baseball that you don't see very much and that's two home runs in the next three batters. We just kept him in too long."

One day after launching a walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to win a semifinal game, Lou Comis struck again for Madonna, recording a solo home run two batters before Nogay to give the Blue Dons the lead at 4-3. Comis hit just one home run in the regular season. Nogay also doubled while Pitchock and Logan Linder each notched two RBIs. Baire said his hitters just stuck to the plan against Simpson and it finally paid off. "We were hitting him well throughout the course of the game, we hit it hard on the nose right at people," said Baire. "We were fortunate enough to get a few to fall in and a couple went over the fence. It was a matter of obeying things we were doing that were giving us success early."

While some of Madonna's players have tasted championship success before in other sports, the feeling is brand new to Baire.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet," Baire said after leading the Blue Dons to their first baseball title. "I stood before the game watching the winner of the AA game and said, 'What would that feel like to be a state champ?' I guess it will take a while to sink in, but it feels great right now."

Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-1749 or

May 18, 2010
Nogay brothers off to play baseball
By MIKE MATHISON, sports editor , Weirton Daily Times


WEIRTON - The Nogay brothers are going in different directions, doing the same thing.

Older brother Eddie is headed to Washington and Jefferson and Max will venture to West Virginia University.

The Madonna High School graduates, who had different decisions to make, will play baseball.

"I was trying to keep my options open, but I knew I wanted to play baseball," said Max. "When I came into high school, that's what I had my mind set on. I had some offers to go wrestle, but after I was invited down to WVU, I knew that's where I wanted to spend the next four years and hopefully contribute."

Max is a two-time West Virginia Class AA-A state wrestling champion.

"Wrestling is a really physically demanding sport," he said. "I enjoyed it over the past 14 years of my life. I really learned a lot of great life lessons - determination and discipline. But, baseball is what I want to do.

"I'm really passionate about baseball. What's bad about an 80 degree summer day playing baseball? I really enjoyed wrestling. I think I have gotten the most out of wrestling compared to any other sport.

"Wrestling is more of an instinctive sport and baseball is more of a thinking man's game. In wrestling you go by feel, although you have to know what to do in certain situations. In baseball, during pre-pitch you're thinking 'where am I going to go with the ball? If the pitcher throws one outside, where am I going to hit this ball?' "

Eddie's decision came down to location - W&J or Johns Hopkins.

"It was a very difficult decision," he said. "I had gone through a long process of applying to several academically elite schools and when it came down to make the final decision, whether to go to a school for academics which was farther from home, or continue my athletic career, it was a pretty close call, but I am happy with my decision.

"When I got all my letters back I immediately eliminated some that were too far from home. My dad and I went on visit to Johns Hopkins to see the campus and it was beautiful.

"But, for a lot of different reasons, we decided to stay close and have the opportunity to stay close to home and to have the opportunity to continue to play baseball at W&J was the best option for me.

"It came down to playing ball at Johns Hopkins, playing ball at W&J or going to Pitt's Honors College. It's just the fact that Baltimore is a big city and is kind of far away and I want to stay close to my parents and stay close to Max and Jen (triplet sister Jennifer Nogay, who will attend Pitt.) That was the determining factor.

"When I thought about it a lot and talked it over with my coaches and my dad, I realized I haven't reached my full potential yet. I think to stop after my senior year and always wonder what could have been instead of trying to take my game to the next level and see what I can do would have been a mistake.

"That's what I did with my application process. You only get to go to college once. I wanted to make the most out of it and really evaluate all my options."

Head coach Jeff Mountain holds a 183-114-1 record (.616) with the Presidents, including a 156-71-1 mark (.686) since 2005. They are 32-10 and will get after it Friday in the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional in Marietta.

"He is very soft spoken, but has a serious demeanor about him," said Eddie, who will major in political science. "He's such a great guy. Coach Mountain is the type of guy I really want to play for."

Both were three-sport athletes for the Blue Dons - football, wrestling and baseball.

The football team finished 14-0 in December to win the Class A state title. The Dons were the runners-up when they were juniors and made it to the state semifinals as sophomores.

Both were four-year lettermen in wrestling.

The baseball team lost in the state semifinals a year ago.

"I went to a Kansas City Royals pro tryout last summer and I saw WVU there and was invited to go to another pro tryout in Morgantown and WVU saw me there, too," said Max, who will major in exercise physiology. "I contacted them early in the summer and they contacted me after that. We talked during football season and they invited me down after football season was over.

"I met the coaching staff and some of the players and everything kind of clicked. My dad was impressed with the head coach (Greg Van Zant, just finishing his 16th year), as was I. He was impressed how the coach went about handling the baseball players.

"This whole process was kind of confusing between schools recruiting me for wrestling and baseball. On the way to the state wrestling tournament, that's when my dad and I made the decision I was going to play baseball for West Virginia."

Madonna baseball coach Jeff Baire and assistant coach Luke Myers put together a skills DVD for Eddie.

"That's one of the reasons how I received a lot of my contacts," said Eddie. "I want to thank them for that."

The brothers were in unison when it came to people they wanted to thank.

"We want to thank our dad for all the hard work and dedication he's put in with us. He's been so supportive, it's been unbelievable," they said. "We also want to thank Mr. Kenny Pitchok for hitting ground balls and pop flies to us when we were little and all the coaches we've had since T-ball.

"We want to thank our mom for putting up with all of this all the time. She has been such a tremendous support system for us. We also want to thank our sister Jen for everything.

"We want to thank coach Baire, coach Myers, coach Provo (Tim Provenzano), coach Spazz (Eric Sperlazza) coach (Jeramie) Nagy, Tim Welsh, all of our past coaches, all of our teammates and everyone who has supported us in everything we have done."

(Mathison can be contacted at

Madonna Wins Second State Title in Six Months!
Fred Persinger, West Virginia Metro News

Charleston, WV -
The last six months have been very good to the athletic programs at Madonna High School.  Last December, the Blue Dons from Weirton won the Class A State Football Championship defeating the Man Hillbillies.  On the first Saturday in June, they win the Class A State Baseball Championship, once again defeating the Man Hillbillies.

Senior right hander Eddie Nogay pitched a 1 hitter thru five innings and also went 2 for 4 at the plate, including a double and a homerun, to lead the Blue Dons.  Sophomore Logan Linder relieved Nogay in the 6th and allowed the Billies only 2 hits in shutting down the Man offense.  The Blue Dons pounded out 13 hits in the game with Chris Eloi, Austin Pitchock, Eddie Nogay and Ryan Mendenhall all picking up 2 each.

For the Man Hillbillies Jordan Simpson took the loss and they managed only three hits in the game as they lost in the Class A title game for the second straight year.

The Class A All Tournament team included Louis Comis, Max Nogay, and Ryan Mendenhall from Madonna, Travis Hurley, Jordan Simpson, Steven Craddock and Duke Vance from Man, Shawn Skovron, Tyler Kerr and Jamie Miller from East Hardy and Ryan Payne from Fayetteville.

OVAC Champs!!!
The Madonna Baseball team received their 2010 OVAC Single A Baseball Championship banner at this year's OVAC sports banquet. As the baseball team claimed the baseball championship, it also clinched the OVERALL SINGLE A CHAMPIONSHIP!!! Other champions this year were Football, Golf, and Wrestling. Congratulations to all players and coaches!! GO BLUE!!!

WV CLASS A STATE CHAMPIONSHIPPlay by Play & Commentator proudly provided by METRONEWS A Service of Priority Communications Ohio, LLC on WEIR 1430.           
CLICK HERE --> Madonna vs. Man
May 15, 2010

A Perfect 10

Madonna beats Wheeling Central twice for title

By MIKE MATHISON, Sports editor, Weirton Daily Times


WEIRTON - Each team was seven innings and 21 outs away from packing its bags to either go home or continue playing baseball.

And, what a 21 outs.

Madonna came back the hard way, beating rival Wheeling Central twice on Saturday in a day-night doubleheader at Bowman Field to defend its West Virginia Region 1, Section 1 baseball championship.

After earning a 6-3 win in the afternoon to force the nightcap, the Blue Dons rallied with 10 runs in the top of the sixth inning for an 18-9 win.

The 10 runs, highlighted by a grand slam from Max Nogay, came on the heels of Wheeling Central's six-spot in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 6-2 deficit to an 8-6 lead.

"That's pretty much what you expect from these two teams," said Maroon Knights coach Jimbo Wodusky. "(Madonna coach) Jeff (Baire) and I talked a couple of times during the year and we both feel we have the best teams in the state. Unfortunately, we have to beat each other up to get to the next level.

"My hat's off to them. They did what they had to do to win. We didn't. This afternoon we had every opportunity to put them away and we didn't. We could have made it a one-game tournament this afternoon.

"We left bases loaded twice, we left guys on second and third.

"And, tonight we got down 7-2, then we fought back and took the lead. I have one of my best pitchers on the mound and things are looking good. Then the wheels fell off the wagon."

Madonna scored two in the top of the first inning (a coin flip determined home and visitors) and Wheeling Central tied it in the bottom of the second on a Mackenzie Pelluchette bomb to left.

The Blue Dons came right back with three in the top of the third. Austin Pitchok started it with a double. With one out, Logan Linder laced a double to score Pitchok and Lou Comis' double plated Linder. Connor Mogan's sacrifice fly scored Comis.

Madonna scored one in the top of the fourth when Nogay ripped a two-run blast with a full count to score Eloi, who singled.

Wheeling Central came right back on Linder, who went the distance for the Blue Dons.

Jack Weishar and Michael Zavolta reached on errors and, with one out, Pelluchette walked to load the sacks. P.J. Ratcliffe brought two home with an 0-2 single and Joel Jarrett's single loaded the bases again.

One out later, Tim Mirandy belted a grand slam to dead center to switch momentum squarely into the Wheeling Central dugout and the 8-6 advantage.

"That was a bad feeling," Pitchock said of Mirandy's blast. "We just had to keep focused and do everything we could do to win."

"Hat's off to them, they mashed the ball, all the way through the lineup, one through nine," Comis said of the Maroon Knights. "But, I had some confidence. We had the top of the order coming up and it seems like Eloi gets on 90 percent of the time."

"I knew we had three more at-bats, so I wasn't worried about it," Nogay said of Mirandy's slam. "I was looking forward to getting the top of the lineup back up and posting some runs, which we did.

"We had a crazy sixth inning. It was a great game all around."

The Knights added one in the bottom of the fifth when Weishar singled and, two outs later, Pelluchette singled and Ratcliffe singled to score Weishar.

"Like I said the other day after we beat them, 'it's a long way from over,'" Wodusky said after his club finished the season at 18-12. "Even in the seventh inning I'm thinking, 'if we get one of their innings together like what they just did, we're all right.' But, at that point, it's a tough one to swallow. It just wasn't meant to be.

"We weren't consistent all year and we weren't consistent on the last day."

With Mirandy on the mound, Eloi reached on an error and Pitchok and Nogay walked to load the bases.

Linder had an RBI single and Comis walked to bring in another run. Runs scored on a Mogan groundout and an error on Chris Perna. Klein walked one out later and Jake Fullerton replaced Mirandy on the hill.

Eloi walked for an RBI and Pitchok was hit by a pitch for another RBI, which brought Nogay to the dish and he laced a 1-1 offering over the fence in right center.

"I was trying to put it deep in the air to score a run," Nogay said of his shot. "I just sat and waited on it and it ended up going over the right field fence, something I haven't done that often.

"Coach Baire said 'he's going to groove you one on the outside corner, stay back' and I took it that way."

Linder shut Wheeling Central down the final two innings.

"I don't what what it is, but nothing phases him, whether he has a bat in his hand, a glove on his hand or is on the mound," said Baire.

In the first game, Madonna handed Wheeling Central two runs in the top of the first inning thanks to three errors and two wild pitches.

Maroon Knights starter Cody Willis held the Blue Dons in check until the fourth when Max Nogay walked, stole second, went to third on the bad throw and scored on Linder's sacrifice fly.

Madonna scored four times in the fifth. Chris Perna singled, the first hit allowed by Willis, and Ryan Mendenhall and A.J. Klein singled to load the bases.

Eloi walked to bring in Perna and Nogay doubled on a 2-2 pitch to plate Klein and Eloi. Nogay scored on Linder's double.

(Mathison can be contacted at

Congrats to the Softball team on winning the Region 1 Section 1 championship!!
May 3, 2010
Dons blank Dogs
WEIRTON - Madonna scored six times in the bottom of the first inning Monday at Bowman Field against visiting Bridgeport and went on to win, 11-0, in 4 innings.

Sophomore Ryan Mendenhall earned the win. Pat McCune pitched the final two innings.

Max Nogay belted his third bomb in as many games with a two-run shot in the bottom of the fourth inning. A.J. Klein singled and tripled for two RBI. Austin Pitchok doubled for an RBI and Lou Comis singled and doubled for an RBI.

The Blue Dons visit Bishop Donahue today.
Madonna 11, Bridgeport 0
Bridgeport 000 00 0 2 4
Madonna 604 1x 11 9 1
BRIDGEPORT: Gregoric (LP, 0K, 1BB), Barnett (1K, 2BB) and Blaney; Blaney 1B; Pritchett 1B.
MADONNA (16-4): Mendenhall (WP, 2K, 0BB), McCune (4th, 3K, 3BB) and Comis; Eloi 1B, RBI; M. Nogay 1B, HR, 2RBI; Linder 1B, RBI; Comis 1B, 2B, RBI; Pitchok 2B, RBI; Klein 1B, 3B, 2RBI; Perna RBI.
May 7, 2010
Working overtime for a city title
By ASHLEY NEWMAN, Sports writer, The Weirton Daily Times
WEIRTON — Weirton Madonna head coach Jeff Baire made it a point to let senior leader Austin Pitchok know before the start of the eighth inning in a tie game against Weir High, Friday, that big players step up in big moments. “I told Austin before the inning that you have to want to be up in this situation,” Baire commented. “He said, ‘coach, I’m going to win it right here.’ That was the first thing that I said to him when he came off of the field. “That is truly what it boils down to. You have to want to be up in that situation and this was just a great high school game.” Pitchok stayed true to his word, belting an RBI single to center field to score Chris Eloi and give Madonna a 6-5 win in the city championship in what was the season finale for both teams. Baire pointed to a pivotal defensive play in the seventh inning by sophomore Logan Linder as the possible turning point. “We would have never had a chance to get to Austin’s hit had Logan not made the play that he made in left field,” Baire said. “He was mildly deep in left field and he throws the guy out on a fly at home plate. That was a rope and a huge play.” Max Nogay earned the win on the mound for the Blue Dons, striking out five and walking two after relieving starter Linder in the sixth inning. Weir’s Cameron Rauch took the loss after relieving Chris Bittinger in the eighth inning. “Chris (Bittinger) once again threw a heck of a ballgame,” Baire said. “He deserved a much better fate than what he got. He’s pitched great against us a couple of times over his high school career and he has come up on the short end a couple of times. “We’ve been fortunate with that. At the same time, Logan (Linder) threw a good game.” Weir head coach Bill Magnone knew that, with the game headed to extra innings, the decision to pull his starting pitcher was a no-brainer. “Both teams fought hard,” he said. “We just came up a little short. With Chris (Bittinger) getting to the seventh inning and our playoffs starting Monday, I hated taking the ball out of his hands, but we had to do it.” Madonna took the early 4-0 lead through the first three innings behind the stellar hitting of Eloi, who finished the game 4-for-5 with four singles. Also coming up big for the Blue Dons’ offense on the day were Max Nogay with a single, double, and two RBI, Linder with two singles, and Ed Nogay with two singles and an RBI. Weir came roaring back in the middle innings, scoring two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings before taking a brief 5-4 lead in the top of the sixth. The Red Riders were led by Rauch’s two singles. The Blue Dons swung the momentum back in their direction in the bottom of the sixth, tying the game on a Max Nogay RBI. Weir had a chance to regain the lead in the seventh inning, but Nogay pitched his way out of a bases loaded situation to set up the wild finish in extra innings. “They load the bases up with no outs,” Baire said. “We got out of it without giving up a run. They stopped us a couple of times when we had guys on base. It was just a heck of a game.” Magnone summed the game up with a simple phrase. “Hats off to Madonna,” he said. “We made mistakes and they took advantage of them. They made mistakes and we didn’t. That is really all you can say.” Both teams will now take part in their respective playoffs, as Weir (14-16) will travel to Oak Glen on Monday and Madonna (18-6) will face the winner of Wheeling Central and Bishop Donahue at Edwin J. Bowman Field, Tuesday. (Newman can be contacted at
Madonna 6, Weir High 5
Weir 000 221 00 — 5 10 3
Madonna 202 001 01 — 6 12 4
WEIR: Bittinger (7IP, 7K, 3BB), Rauch LP (0K, 0BB) and Lemasters; Ford 1B; Shaw 2B, RBI; Lemasters 1B; Bittinger 1B; Rauch 2-1B; Harmon 1B, RBI; Harris 1B, 2RBI; Duke 2-1B, RBI.
MADONNA: Linder (5 1/3 IP, 4K, 2BB), M. Nogay WP (2 2/3 IP, 5K, 2BB) and Comis; Eloi 4-1B; Pitchok RBI; M. Nogay 1B, 2B, 2RBI; Linder 2-1B; Comis 1B, RBI; E. Nogay 2-1B, RBI; Klein 2B.
May 1, 2010
Madonna finally wins small school championship
By MIKE MATHISON, Sports editor, Weirton Daily Times, Posted May 2
STEUBENVILLE — Finally. It took three chances, but the Madonna baseball team grabbed its first Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class A title since 2004 with a 12-2 victory over Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans in six innings Saturday night at Vaccaro Field. “This feels great,” said Madonna coach Jeff Baire. “When I coached here in (in 2001-03) we made the OVAC playoffs, which we hadn’t done in a long time. It’s been quite a few years since we’ve won it, so this feels really nice. “But, it’s just another step. A great one, at that. I hope these things continue to happen.” The Blue Dons hit Rosecrans starter Mike Reef hard in the third and fourth innings, turning a 2-0 deficit after 1¢ innings into a 9-2 lead after four frames. “It was a little different night for him. That’s probably as hard as he’s been hit all year,” Rosecrans coach Doug Geyer said of Reef. “He looked good early. He battled out of innings.” “We talked about hitting the ball where it was pitched,” said Baire. “We knew he was going to throw the ball well. We knew he had good off-speed stuff. When we faced Toronto we let them backdoor curveball us all day long. So, we talked about that. It also hasn’t hurt us that we’ve faced everybody’s No. 1 or No. 2 this year. “Seeing a guy who throws as hard as he does isn’t abnormal for us and that definitely helps.” Madonna, which lost in the Class A final the last two years to Toronto, was led by senior Eddie Nogay. He struck out 10, walked four and gave up two hits, both singles in the first and second innings. “This is the first time we’ve been in the OVAC finals,” said Geyer. “It’s a stepping stone for us. I told them after the game ‘I know that we’re all disappointed, but one step at a time.’ ” Rosecrans loses four seniors to graduation later this month and has no juniors in the program. “We have a lot of things to look forward to,.” said Geyer. Baire said it was nice to see his team score in the last five innings. “For whatever reason, we tend to get complacent when we get a lead, instead of stepping on the pedal, putting them out of the ballgame. We did a great job of that tonight. We talked about that between innings, saying ‘we just put five on the board, let’s get a couple more.’ “I think they’re starting to understand when you do that to teams, you take their heart out of them.” Lou Comis led the 15-hit attack with three singles and a double. Max Nogay added a double and home run. Madonna (15-4) was coming off an 11 inning 6-5 loss at Magnolia. “We had opportunity after opportunity after opportunity at Magnolia and we just didn’t get the hits when we needed them and tonight we did,” said Baire. “If we’re going to make that next step, when you get the opportunity to put a team away, put a team away. “Don’t let them hang around you because you never know what’s going to happen late in a ballgame if you only have a one- or two-run lead. “It’s a little easier when you’re up five, six, seven, eight runs.”
April 29, 2010
Dons fall to Eagles in 11
By SHAWN RINE, special to the Herald-Star
NEW MARTINSVILLE — Magnolia baseball coach Dave Cisar has never shied away from making what in some circles are considered questionable decisions. So after getting burned by intentionally walking Weirton Madonna’s Max Nogay in the top of the seventh inning Tuesday, he was given a second chance to make a different choice in the 11th inning, but didn’t. ‘‘And I’d do it again because he had great swings all day,’’ Cisar said. But where sophomore Logan Linder had knotted the game in the seventh with a run-scoring single, this time he struck out looking with two on and two out. Magnolia then loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning for Bentley Knight, who came through with a single off the glove of Blue Dons (14-4) first baseman Ryan Mendenhall that scored Logan Herrick with the winner in a 6-5 victory. ‘‘I’m real happy because it was a great game, and what a clutch hit from Bentley Knight because he was put up there to bunt,’’ Cisar said. ‘‘That’s my squeeze guy, and I had been telling him all day he was going to squeeze.’’ Somewhat surprisingly, each team got to the other’s ace. Magnolia’s Justin Fox, who entered in the bottom of the seventh after his club had secured a 4-3 lead on a two-run Herrick double, retired the first two hitter with relative ease. But Chris Eloi walked, and Nogay was given the intentional walk that preceded Linder’s clutch hit. ‘‘(Fox) came into the game with an ERA of 0.39,’’ Cisar pointed out. ‘‘I wouldn’t want any other player in the state over Justin on the mound.‘’ Nogay made a surprise appearance in the 10th, allowing only a Jordan Moore single off the glove of the third baseman. But he ran into trouble in the 11th when he threw 11 consecutive balls after a Herrick double. That set the stage for Knight to come through against a drawn-in infield. ‘‘(Mendenhall) makes that play right there at first base on the ball that won the ballgame for them, that’s a triple play and we’re still going on to the 12th inning,’’ Madonna coach Jeff Baire said. ‘‘But at the same time, our kids battled.’’ Each team had plenty of chances, with Madonna’s best coming in the 11th. Austin Pitchok reached on an error with two outs, Lou Comis singled down the left-field line and Eddie Nogay came up with an infield hit off pitcher Mason Rine’s glove. But Rine induced Connor Mogan to ground out to second. The Blue Eagles wasted a one-out, eighth-inning triple by Seth Pay, who also singled and doubled twice. ‘‘Seth Pay has had a great two weeks — he’s been out of sight,’’ Cisar said. ‘‘In fact, we thought he hit a home run; we thought that ball was out. ‘‘He’s hit five home runs in the last six or seven games, and they’re bombs. He’s a great weapon for us right there.’’ Nogay homered off the greenhouse in left field in the sixth inning to give Madonna a short-lived lead Comis drove in a run in the second with a single, and Eloi had a pair of hits. ‘‘It was a heckuva ballgame, against the No. 2 AA team in the state,’’ Baire said. ‘‘One of the reasons I scheduled the way I did this year with this team is, I truly believe we have a legitimate chance of making it down state again. ‘‘Once you get down there anything can happen, but the only way you get better — in life in general — is to challenge yourself.’’
Magnolia 6
Weirton Madonna 5
11 innings
Weirton Madonna 012 001 100 00 — 5 10 2
Magnolia 011 012 000 01 — 6 14 2
MADONNA: Linder (4K, 1BB), E.Nogay (9) (3K, 1BB), M.Nogay (10) LP (2K, 2BB) and Comis. Eloi 1B, 2B; M.Nogay HR, RBI; Linder 3-1B, RBI; Comis 2-1B, RBI.
MAGNOLIA: Elliott (2K, 1BB), Fox (7) (3K, 2BB), Elliott (9) (2K, 0BB), Rine (11) WP (3K, 1BB) and Keller. Pay 1B, 2-1B, 3B; Knight 1B, RBI; McElaney 2B; Moore 3-1B; Keller 2B; Herrick 1B, 2-2B, 3RBI.

Catholic Tournament Video

April 19, 2010
Knights slip by Dons
By STEPHANIE ELVERD, sports writer, Weirton Daily Times

TORONTO — And the streak goes on for the Toronto baseball team. The Red Knights put more distance between themselves and a season-opening loss with an 8-6 win over Madonna to up their record to 16-1, Monday, at the Knight Baseball Complex. “We’re playing well right now, but there is always room for improvement,” Toronto coach Brian Perkins said. “I feel we could be hitting the ball a little better than we have been, but we’re improving. And that’s all we want to see. We haven’t reached any of our goals yet, but if we keep playing hard, good things will happen.” For the Blue Dons, Monday’s loss was their third of the year, as they fell to 10-3. Madonna coach Jeff Baire is happy with the mark, but unhappy with team’s inability to limit mistakes 13 games into the season. “We’re getting there. We play a quality schedule but in all of our losses we didn’t make routine plays at crucial times. And we keep making the same mistakes,” he said. “You cannot make mistakes against a a quality team like Toronto and win. It’s plain and simple. We counted just two earned runs. We made too many mistakes.” Those mistakes included four errors, the first of which came in the first inning. It allowed Toronto to jump on the Dons early. After walking Toronto’s first batter (Mitch Ludewig), starting pitcher Max Nogay forced a ground out, but the ball was bobbled and Chase Takcas reached. Two outs later — a flyout and a strikeout — walks haunted the Dons. Three-straight pushed Ludewig and Takacs across the plate and a base hit by Shane Mosti drove in an additional two runners — J.J. Miclea and Trevor Cooper — as Toronto went up, 4-0. The Blue Dons would come up with a big-production of inning of their own two frames later. Five runs in the top of the third put Madonna in the lead. Another run in the fourth put the Dons two runs ahead. Ed Nogay led off the third with a base hit. A.J. Klein followed with the second of back-to-back bases-on-balls and Chris Eloi was next struck by a pitch thrown by Toronto starter Mike Garman to load the bases. Max Nogay drew the third walk of the inning for the RBI. Logan Linder followed with a base hit. Lou Comis also singled in the inning in which both Nogays, Klein, Eloi and Linder all scored. In the fourth, Klein was walked and scored. The Knights were down but not out and and retook the lead with another four-run inning in the fifth. Takacs led off the frame with a walk and advanced to second on a steal. Garman batted him in with a base hit. He advanced to second on the throw home. Tyler Butler then reached an error and Miclea was struck by a pitch to load things up. Baire brought in Linder to relieve Nogay, who left the game with three strikeouts and six walks, but two more hits would score three more runs. Cooper singled for an RBI and Dave Porter hit a two-run double. “We got a group of kids who are resilient. They show up every day ready to play and wanting to get better,” Perkins said. “They battled back today. They kept fighting and got a nice win against a quality program. Coach Baire has his kids playing hard. They’re a good ball team and we expect to see them down the road.” Neither team would score after the fifth, though the Blue Dons looked as if they were going to stage a rally in the seventh when Eloi was walked with one out. Perkins opted to bring in Dave Porter to close and he struck out the next two batters to earn a save. Garman earned the win in 6ª innings pitched. He fanned eight and walked six. “Mike did a nice job today. He gave up some walks but kept fighting,” Perkins said. “We’ve been looking for somebody to step in as our No. 2 guy and he’s been doing that.” The Blue Dons struck out 10 times. “We talked about that after the second inning, you had a pitcher who was throwing a curveball and he kept throwing it and our kids didn’t make the adjustments. We clued them in, but they didn’t adjust,” Baire said. “Toronto is a good ball team year in and year out and the thing that they do vastly better than us is they fight to see another pitch. We didn’t do that. “We watched Strike 3. You have to swing the bat. If you swing the bat and even get a piece of it, it keeps you at the plate and gives you another chance.” Madonna will play at Bridgeport today. The Blue Dons return home Wednesday against Bishop Donahue. The Red Knights face the Bishops today at the Knight Baseball Complex. for its annual “Kids Day.” They play the Bulldogs Thursday at Bridgeport. Toronto 8, Madonna 6 Madonna 005 100 0 — 6 5 4 Toronto 400 400 x — 8 6 2 MADONNA: M. Nogay LP (3K, 6BB), Linder (4) (2K, 0BB) and Comis; Eloi 1B; M. Nogay RBI; Linder 2-1B, RBI; Comis 1B; E. Nogay 1B. TORONTO: Garman WP (8K, 6BB), Porter (7) (2K, 0BB) and Butler; Garman 1B; Miclea 1B; Cooper 1B, RBI; Porter 1B, 2B, 3RBI; Mosti 1B.
April 13, 2010
Madonna baseball wins 12-1
By ASHLEY NEWMAN, sports writer, Weirton Daily Times
WEIRTON — The Weirton Madonna baseball team stepped onto the grass at Edwin J. Bowman Field against Steubenville Catholic Central, Tuesday ranked No. 1 in West Virginia’s Class A for the first time in school history. The Blue Dons showed that the rating was well-deserved, exploding for 12 runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on their way to a 12-1 win in five innings. The victory moved Madonna to a 9-1 record on the season. “We’re still not completely consistent hitting the ball, but we did a lot of things better today,” Madonna head coach Jeff Baire said. “The one thing that we have done consistently all year is, when people make mistakes, we’ve been able to capitalize on them. That and the other thing is that we’ve had the knack of getting the big hit. “Today, one of the things that leads me to believe that we are going to be coming around (offensively) is that we had seven hits in four innings. We’re moving a little bit closer to where we need to be. The great thing we did today from beginning to end was that we drove the ball to the opposite field.” Catholic Central, meanwhile, dropped to 5-5, but head coach Frank Spence knew that facing the Blue Dons was going to be a difficult task. “Madonna has a good team with very good, veteran players,” he said. “When we played them four years ago when a lot of these kids were freshmen, I said that teams are going to need to watch out for them in a few years. “All I can do is tip my hat to them.” Catholic Central got on the board first, as Sean Harlan led off the third inning with a single and was later driven in by Jordan Teramana. However, the Madonna offense came alive in the bottom of the fourth as the hosts would send 17 batters to the plate before the 12 runs were recorded. “I thought that we were in pretty good shape through the first three innings,” Spence said of his team’s early 1-0 lead. “We just had one of those innings where things didn’t go well. When they start hitting the ball and you factor in some walks and errors by us, the lead got too big for us to be able to get back in it.” Logan Linder led the Madonna offense with two doubles and four RBI, while Lou Comis added two singles and two RBI. Linder also picked up the win on the mound, striking out two and walking one in four innings of work. He was relieved by Pat McCune in the final frame. “Logan (Linder) didn’t have a lot of strikeouts,” Baire said. “When you have a good defense behind you and you are not getting strikeouts, put the ball in play and see what happens. We have done a good job of that this year. “Our pitchers are doing a good job throwing the strikes. Logan threw 57 pitches, I believe. Pat McCune did a good job once he was called upon to take the mound. We are looking for guys to come in. “We feel pretty good about our top four or five guys,” he continued. “We are looking for other guys to step up and fill out the rest of the rotation. So, Pat coming out and doing a good job was very big.” Madonna will travel to Wheeling Central Thursday. Catholic Central’s Mike McDonald took the loss, striking out three and walking four in 3 2/3 innings. Jordan Teramana recorded the final out of the fourth frame. Sean Harlan led the Central offense with two singles. “We just have to keep working and look to turn it around,” Spence said. “It is all about consistency. We need to be able to win one game, forget about it and move on to the next and win that one. Before you know it, you have a winning streak put together. “Other than the Big Red game, we’ve been in all of the games that we have lost. We just have to do a better job of being consistent. We knew that this was going to be an up year for baseball in the Valley and that is what we are seeing.” Catholic Central will be at home against Brooke at 4:45 p.m. today. (Newman can be contacted at Madonna 12, Catholic Central 1 Catholic Central 001 00 — 1 3 3 Madonna 000 (12)x — 12 7 1 CATHOLIC CENTRAL (5-5): McDonald LP (4 2/3 IP, 3K, 4BB), Jo. Teramana (1/3 IP, 0K, 0BB) and Bahen; Harlan 2-1B; Panela 2B; Ju. Teramana RBI. MADONNA (9-1): Linder WP (4IP, 2K, 2BB), McCune (2K, 1BB) and Comis; Eloi 1B, 2RBI; Linder 2-2B, 4RBI; Pitchok 1B; Comis 2-1B, 2RBI; Mendenhall 2RBI; E. Nogay 1B, 2RBI.
April 10, 2010
Taking 2: Dons sweep Tigers
From staff reports, Weirton Dailty Times

SHADYSIDE — Max Nogay tossed a one-hitter Saturday as the Madonna baseball team swept host Shadyside by 10-1 scores. Following a shaky bottom of the first inning in which Nogay issued a walk and hit two Tiger batters, Madonna’s senior ace was in control. Nogay induced an inning-ending double play to escape early damage, then effectively settled in. “After that first inning, Max worked ahead and was outstanding,” said Baire. “What I really liked about Max’s outing was his low pitch count.” Nogay finished with six strikeouts, the one walk and three hit batsmen, improving his season record to 2-1. Madonna plated two first inning tallies without the benefit of a base hit, then batted around, scoring six more runs in the second to break it open. “We haven’t been hitting with the consistency we need to,” Baire said. “We were able to get a couple timely hits (in the first game).” Madonna rightfielder Chris Eloi accounted for four runs with a two-run single and a two-run triple. The Blue Dons also received an RBI double off the bat of catcher Lou Comis. Leadoff hitter A.J. Klein was on base in all five of his at-bats, collecting two singles along the way. Leftfielder Logan Linder contributed a run-producing base hit. Ryan Mendenhall worked five strong innings and received mop-up duty from Connor Mogan in the second game. Comis paced the Dons’ 10-hit attack with a double, triple and two RBIs. Mogan contributed a double and two runs batted in. The 8-1 Blue Dons host Steubenville Central at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Game 1 Madonna 10, Shadyside 1 Madonna 260 000 2 – 10 9 1 Shadyside 000 010 0 – 1 1 2 MADONNA: M. Nogay (WP, 6K, 1BB) and Comis; Eloi 2-1B, 2-3B, 4RBI; Comis 2B, RBI; Klein 2-1B; Linder 1B, RBI. SHADYSIDE: O’Donnell (LP), Hudson (2), J. Brooks (4) and Marling; Bigles 2B. Game 2 Madonna 10, Shadyside 1 Madonna 300 122 2 – 10 9 0 Shadyside 000 100 0 – 1 9 5 MADONNA (8-1): Mendenhall (WP), Mogan (6) and Comis; Comis 1B, 2-2B, 3B, 4RBI; Mogan 2B, 2RBI; M. Nogay 1B, 2RBI; Linder 1B; Pitchok 1B, RBI. SHADYSIDE: Kernik, Stupak (7) and Kubancic; Stupak 1B; Kubancic 2-1B; Duda 1B; L. Hudson 2-1B; Enochs 1B, 2B; Arling 1B; Shumaker 2B.
April 9, 2010
Blue Dons make most of opportunities
By ASHLEY NEWMAN, Sports writer, Weirton Daily Times 

WEIRTON — One of the keys in baseball is to take full advantage of all opportunities. Weirton Madonna personified the cliche against Wheeling Central, Friday, as the Blue Dons recorded two hits, but still accomplished a 5-1 victory at Edwin J. Bowman Field. Madonna’s Ed Nogay kept Wheeling Central’s offense at bay, as well, holding the Maroon Knights to just three scattered singles while striking out four and walking one in the complete-game victory. “Eddie threw a phenomenal game on 82 pitches,” Madonna head coach Jeff Baire said. “He was in command the whole game and I couldn’t ask for more. He knew that he wasn’t getting too many more pitches. We pretty much capped it out before the game that he wasn’t going to go more than 80. If they would have gotten a couple of guys on, we had someone warmed up and he was ready to come in. “So, he did a phenomenal job and that is what we want our pitchers to do. That is to throw strikes and allow our defense to play behind you. We have confidence in the defense that we play and Eddie did a great job of using his defense today.” The Madonna defense did not let Baire down, allowing just a single error early on the day. “Defensively, we are doing a good job,” Baire commented. “We had one miscue early in the game that led directly to a run. That aside, we played great defense and especially in a game where you are playing against a rival. That was big to come out and play the way that we did in the field.” Logan Linder led the Blue Dons’ offense with a three-run triple in the bottom of the third inning to put Madonna in front 3-1. Max Nogay recorded the victors’ other hit, an RBI single in the fifth frame. Lou Comis also had an RBI. “We need to learn how to hit,” Baire said. “We are watching too many pitches and we are watching too many first-pitch strikes. We’ve talked about it and yet we still go to the plate and watch those perfect pitches go down. “Then, you put yourself in a position where you have to hit a pitcher’s pitch.” Madonna (6-1) will travel to Shadyside for a doubleheader today. Wheeling Central head coach Jimbo Wodusky was disappointed in his team’s performance. “We gave them too many free bases,” he said. “We made one critical error and they made us pay. That is what good teams do. Madonna is very well-coached and a very disciplined team. If you give them free guys on base, eventually it is going to come back and bite you. “My hat is off to them for making us pay for it. I’ve been stressing that all year. We’ve had solid pitching up to this point, but this is the first time that we’ve actually put guys on base like that. “We’ve played some pretty good ball teams up to this point. I’m not worried so much at this point about the opponent. I’m worried about Wheeling Central. We’re just not playing fundamental baseball.” (Newman can be contacted at
April 7, 2010
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Blue Dons Defeat Red Riders

By ASHLEY NEWMAN, sports writer, Weirton Dailty Times


WEIRTON — After suffering its first defeat of the 2010 season Tuesday night against Linsly, the Weirton Madonna baseball team rebounded with a 4-1 victory over crosstown rival Weir High at Edwin J. Bowman Field, Wednesday. Madonna head coach Jeff Baire was happy with the way his team responded to the adversity. “I was happy,” he noted. “The beautiful thing about baseball is that you get to come out the next day and play. We knew what we did wrong (yesterday). We came out flat. At times, we expect, because of the way things went last year, that things are going to come easy and they’re not. “That is something that we are going to have to get used to. Everybody that we play is going to try to come out and give us their best shot and I don’t care who it is. There is no more sneaking up on anybody. When you are coming off of 17-13, you can sneak up on people. When you were 22-4, it isn’t happening. “That is the one thing that we learned and we talked an awful lot today about how a win is more important than personal stats. We had guys who didn’t have great days at the plate, but did a good job in the field and that’s the thing that we are looking at.” Logan Linder picked up the win for Madonna, holding the Red Riders to one run on three hits, while striking out four and walking two. “Logan threw 96 pitches tonight,” Baire said. “One of the things that we do during the course of the season is work our pitchers up. On a day like today, when it is 85 degrees and sunny, we are going to let them go a little longer than what we would on a cooler day. “This is what we’ve come to expect out of Logan. He showed us glimpses of this last year and he has been nothing but sensational this year. He has thrown a no-hitter and now a complete game, four-hitter against Weir High, which had been putting up 12 to 14 hits a game. “It was a phenomenal performance.” Madonna got on the board first in the top of the second inning as Lou Comis reached base on a walk and eventually scored after a wild pitch and an error to make it 1-0. Weir came back in the bottom of the frame when Marc Harris slapped an RBI double to left field to tie the game. However, Linder would take control from there, allowing two hits in the final five frames. Madonna would score a run in each of the fourth, sixth, and seventh inning. The Blue Dons were led offensively by Austin Pitchok with two singles and an RBI. Max Nogay chipped in with two singles of his own. “Linder threw a good game,” Weir head coach Bill Magnone said. “We didn’t hit the ball like we are capable of hitting and there were a few plays that we should have made in the most key moments of the game that we have to start making if we want to beat a team like Madonna. They have a good team. “When you make mistakes, they take advantage of it.” Weir’s Chris Bittinger took the loss on the mound, striking out five and walking two while going the distance. Even in defeat, Magnone felt that Bittinger did enough for his team to have a chance. “Every time Chris goes out, he pitches good,” Magnone said. “He has been our most consistent pitcher for a couple of years now. He threw well enough to win. It is just a shame that we didn’t play well enough to win. “But, it is a long season and we’ll be back.” Weir (5-4) will host Wheeling Park Friday. Baire believed that his defense bounced back after a rough day in the field against Linsly. The Blue Dons committed just one error Wednesday. “That was important, more than anything else,” he said. “You are going to have bad days at the plate and you’re going to have bad days on the bases, but you can never have a bad day with the glove. Always know that you can take that baseball glove out on the field with you and if it is a mental error, it is even worse. “The mental errors led to physical errors. Errors are a part of baseball, but the mental aspect of it is not acceptable to me and we did a much better job in that area today.” Madonna (5-1) will host Wheeling Central at 4:30 p.m., Friday. (Newman can be contacted at

 Madonna 4, Weir 1

Madonna 010 101 1 – 4 9 1

Weir 010 000 0 — 1 4 2

MADONNA (5-1): Linder WP (4K, 2BB) and Comis; Eloi 1B; M. Nogay 2-1B; Linder 1B; Pitchok 2-1B, RBI; Comis 1B; Perna 1B, RBI; Arlia RBI; E. Nogay 1B. WEIR (5-4): Bittinger LP (5K, 2BB) and Lemasters; Ford 1B; Harris 2B, RBI; Price 1B; Harmon 1B.
April 6, 2010
Dons handed first defeat
By ASHLEY NEWMAN, sports writer
WEIRTON — In an early season battle of undefeated teams in West Virginia, Linsly traveled to Edwin J. Bowman Field to battle Weirton Madonna Tuesday. The Cadets stormed out of the gates, taking a 4-0 lead after three innings en route to an 11-4 victory, giving the Blue Dons their first taste of defeat in 2010. “Weirton Madonna always plays us tough,” Linsly head coach Jay Cartwright said. “They are well-coached, talented, and an excellent team. We played well tonight and the kids ought to be very proud of themselves.” Linsly’s Ben Weimer was the star of the show, taking control on the mound from the very start and finishing his complete game victory with 12 strikeouts and one walk. “He is the senior leader and he is definitely going to be our ace,” Cartwright noted. “He pitched for us some last year but he had some injury problems. He led the charge for us tonight, without a question, and we expect more of that. We have some young guys behind him that can also throw, so we have some depth there, as well.” Madonna head coach Jeff Baire knew his squad had to be on top of its game to have an opportunity against the high-octane Cadets. “They’re good and we made them look even better by booting the ball around at certain times on plays that we were there on,” he said. “When you do that against a quality team like Linsly, this is what happens.” The difficulty started early for the Blue Dons. After starting pitcher Max Nogay got out of the first frame unscathed, things went differently in the second inning. A fielding error allowed Linsly’s Haydon Stanley to reach base and, two batters later, Weimer reached base on a walk. After Nogay recorded the second out of the inning and Jon-Michael Brunner was hit by a pitch, the bases were loaded for Alex Stephens. The third baseman did not disappoint, planting a three-run double to right-center field to put the Cadets in front, 3-0. Linsly would add another run in the third inning to push the advantage to 4-0. “We put ourselves in that situation,” Baire said. “We gave up three runs in the second inning that were directly because of errors. On two outs and a couple of guys on base, they hit a ball in the gap and there is a communication problem. The ball is in the glove and it comes out. “The same thing happened the next inning. We have an opportunity to get out of an inning on a ground ball that was up the middle. Sure, it wasn’t a routine ground ball, but it is a play that has to be made. That ball squirts through into the outfield and all of a sudden, they have built their 4-0 lead.” Madonna would claw its way back behind the power of Nogay, who delivered a three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning to cut the advantage to 4-3. “It was an opportunity for us to learn something about ourselves,” Baire explained. “We hadn’t been put in a situation before where we had to play from behind. I thought that we did a good job of coming back and we didn’t drop our heads and completely quit.” Linsly did not allow the momentum swing to last for long, however, as it regained control in the sixth inning with two runs before putting it away with five in the top of the seventh. The Cadets (7-0) were led at the plate by Alex Stephens with a single, a double, and four RBI. “This is the best hitting team I have had in probably four years,” Cartwright said. “They are starting to come around with the sticks against some quality pitching. It was a real good night for us. “We’ve been getting some outstanding pitching. I’m really surprised at how advanced our pitching is at this point in terms of control, changing speeds, and moving the ball around. I would say that has to be the biggest surprise. “In the preseason, I knew that we would hit the ball well, but the pitching has been excellent. I hope that continues to build.” Nogay took the loss for the Blue Dons, striking out three and walking two in four innings of work. He was relieved by Connor Mogan who struck out one and walked none in 2• innings and Chris Perna, who recorded the final two outs of the seventh inning. “Things got away from us a little bit there at the end,” Baire admitted. “But, we had an opportunity to fold up the tent and walk away and we battled back from a 4-0 deficit to make it 4-3. I saw a lot of positives and we learned something about ourselves. “It is one of the reasons why I disagreed with the talk about how our schedule was too tough this week. This is where you find out about yourself, especially early in the season. In our great sport of baseball, you don’t have to worry about wins and losses keeping you in or out of the playoffs. “You want to learn what you can when you can early in the season and I think that we learned a lot about ourself.” Madonna will face Weir High at 4:30 p.m. today at Edwin J. Bowman Field. The Red Riders are the designated home team. (Newman can be contacted at Linsly 11, Madonna 4 Linsly 031 002 5 — 11 11 0 Madonna 000 301 0 — 4 5 3 LINSLY (7-0): Weimer WP (12K, 1BB) and Tennant; Brunner 2B, RBI; Stephens 1B, 2B, 4RBI; Dodd 2-1B; Tennant 1B; Stanley 2-1B; Gibson 2-1B, 2RBI; Werner 1B, RBI; Williams RBI. MADONNA (4-1): M. Nogay LP (4IP, 3K, 2BB), Mogan (2 1/3IP, 1K, 0BB), Perna (2/3 IP, 0K, 2BB) and Comis; Klein 1B; Eloi 2B; M. Nogay HR 3RBI; Pitchock 1B, RBI; Perna 1B.
April 5, 2010
Madonna downs Monarchs
From staff reports, Weirton Daily Times

WEIRTON — Max Nogay went deep as the Madonna baseball team defeated John Marshall, 8-5, Monday. Nogay hit two solo home runs. Lou Comis added two base hits and three RBI. Chris Perna batted in two runs and Logan Linder registered an RBI. Eddie Nogay earned the win with three strikeouts. Aaron Fonner homered for the Monarchs. The Blue Dons play host to Linsly today. Madonna 8, John Marshall 5 Madonna 102 030 2 — 8 5 1 John Marshall 202 001 0 — 5 9 2 MADONNA: E. Nogay WP (3K, 2BB), Linder (5) (3K, 0BB) and Comis; Eloi 1B; M. Nogay 2HR, 2RBI; Linder RBI; Comis 2-1B, 3RBI; Perna 2RBI. JOHN MARSHALL: Persinger LP (6K, 6BB) , Wellman (6) (2K, 0BB) and Troy; Varner 1B; Fonner HR, 1B, RBI; Troy 2-2B; Persinger 1B, 2B, RBI; Mirandy 1B, 2B, RBI; Patrick RBI.
March 31, 2010

Dons beat Bears

From staff reports, Weirton Daily Times

POSTED: April 1, 2010


WEIRTON — Logan Linder singled, doubled and drove in two runs to lead Madonna in a season-opening 8-1 win over Oak Glen at Bowman Field Wednesday. Linder also fanned five and walked two in relief of starter Max Nogay who registered four strikeouts and three walks. The Blue Dons finished with 12 hits. Chris Eloi had a hit and three RBIs. A.J. Klein had a single and a double. Lou Comis had two base hits and two RBIs. Austin Pitchok tripled and batted in a run. Connor Arlia had two hits. For the Bears, Seth Tustin had two hits and Zach Mazezka doubled. Steve Barr fanned seven and allowed no walks as a relief pitcher.

Madonna 8, Oak Glen 1

Oak Glen 000 100 0 — 1 5 2

Madonna 050 012 x — 8 12 2

OAK GLEN: Evans LP (0K, 0BB), Steve Barr (3) (7K, 0BB) and Matt Shenton; Barnhart RBI; Barr 1B; Tuston 2-1B, Mazeta 1B; Mazezka 2B. MADONNA: M. Nogay WP (4K, 3BB), Logan Linder (5) (5K, 2BB) and Louis Comis; A.J. Klein 1B, 2B; Eloi 1B, 3RBI; Linder 1B, 2B, 2RBI; Pitchok 3B, RBI; Comis 2-1B, 2RBI.; Perna 1B; Arlia 2-1B; E. Nogay 1B.

April 3, 2010
Dons Sweep Dragons
 From the Weirton Daily Times
-Logan Linder threw a five-inning no-hitter on Saturday to complete a doubleheader sweep of visiting Cameron at Bowman Field. Linder struck out nine and walked one as the Blue Dons moved to 3-0 on the campaign with the 11-0 win. Max Nogay fanned nine as Madonna won the first game, 10-3. He also finished the day with three doubles, a single and two RBI. Linder totaled singles, two doubles and three RBI. Also for the Dons, Eddie Nogay singled, doubled, tripled and batted in three runs. Chris Perna had four RBI on three base hits. Connor Arlia added two base hits, a double and two RBI. Lou Comis registered two doubles to plate two runs. A.J. Klein doubled for an RBI, and Chris Eloi had a single and a double. Madonna is undefeated at 3-0 and next plays at John Marshall, Monday.
Game 1 Madonna 10, Cameron 3 Cameron 000 021 0 — 3 5 2 Madonna 411 211 x —10 15 4 CAMERON: French LP (3K, 0BB), Hughes (5) 2K, 0BB) and Neely; Walker 1B; French 2-1B, 2RBI; Neely 2-1B. MADONNA: M. Nogay WP (9K, 2BB), McCoy (6) (0K, 1BB), Eddie Nogay (7) (1K, 0BB) and Comis; Klein 2B, RBI; Eloi 1B, 2B; M. Nogay 2B; Linder 2-1B, 2-2B, 3RBI; Comis 2-2B, 2RBI; Perna 2-1B, 2RBI; Arlia 1B, 2B; E. Nogay 2B, RBI.
Game 2 Madonna 11, Cameron 0 Cameron 000 00 — 0 0 4 Madonna 416 0x —11 9 0 CAMERON: Walker LP (1K, 4BB), Cotroll (3) 3K, 2BB) and Starcher. MADONNA (3-0): Linder WP (9K, 1BB) and Comis, Howell (4); Klein 1B; Eloi 2B, RBI; M. Nogay 1B, 2-2B, 2RBI; Perna 1B, 2RBI; Pitchock RBI; Pietranton RBI; Arlia 1B, 2RBI; E. Nogay 1B, 3B, 2RBI.

Madonna's Max Nogay To Play College Baseball At West Virginia University

Weirton Madonna three-sport standout Max Nogay has decided he'll play college baseball at West Virginia University.

The two-time first-team West Virginia all-state pick has accepted Greg Van Zant's offer to join the WVU program next season. The versatile infielder and pitcher hit .459 last season, with 40 runs batted in. He helped lead Madonna to the state semifinals in Charleston, hitting three home runs against Williamstown in the regional tournament.

Nogay is also a two-time West Virginia state wrestling champion, and quarterbacked the Blue Dons to the West Virginia Class A state title this past fall.

All materials produced and rights reserved by F. Merker.

Madonna’s Nogay leads All-West Virginia team

By JIM ELLIOTT, special to the Herald-Star

WEIRTON - Two members of Weirton Madonna's first state tournament team and three stars of Moorefield's second West Virginia Class A state title squad headline the All-State baseball team, released Monday by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

Madonna's Max Nogay, whose monster performance in the regional semifinal against Williamstown (three home runs, six RBIs) sent the Blue Dons to Charleston, was named the captain, another first in school history. He was joined on the squad by teammate George Magnone.

''He's something else,'' Madonna coach Jeff Baire said of Nogay. ''He's somebody we could depend on throughout the course of the year. Same thing could be said about George.

''You knew what you were going to get out of them every time they came out to the ballfield.''

Nogay hit .459 with six homers and 40 RBIs, and struck out 50 in 38.2 innings pitched in becoming Madonna's first two-time, first-team selection.

''This has been a year of firsts for our baseball team,'' Baire said. ''It had been 18 years since we won the city championship (against Weir High). No one knows how long it's been since we beat Wheeling Central and won a sectional. No (Madonna team) had been able to fight through the regionals.''

Magnone struck out 61 and walked six in 50.2 innings pitched, and had a 1.60 ERA, as he grabbed one of the team's four pitching spots. At the plate, he hit .420 with two homers and 31 RBIs.

State title-game hero Shawn Hibbard was joined by Moorefield teammates Trevor Sites and Tanner Burns, the first time Moorefield coach Wade Armentrout could remember having that many all-staters on one of his teams.

Hibbard, the winning pitcher in relief in the championship game against Man, hit .477 with two homers and was a perfect 4-0 on the mound. He also singled, doubled and drove in two in the championship game.

''I kind of nicknamed him 'Elmer' because he's been glue to our team all season long,'' Armentrout said of Hibbard, his designated hitter-reliever-confidence re-enforcer.

Burns, the Yellow Jackets' most consistent hitter, according to Armentrout, batted .533 with two homers and 28 RBIs. Sites, also the team's closer who put a lid on both the regional final and state title game, hit .443 with two home runs and 26 RBIs.

''He feeds off confidence,'' Armentrout said. ''It's a tremendous accomplishment for those three young men, but it's also a great attribute because they represent our team so well.''

State runner-up Man had one player, Travis Hurley, earn a spot after a season in which he hit a team-best .455 clip with 22 RBIs, eight doubles and two triples.

Mike Callison of Pocahontas County rounded out the representatives among Class A's final four teams, as he hit .438 with four home runs and 28 RBIs.

Buffalo pitcher Jason Lewis, the only other returning first-teamer outside of Nogay, rebounded from injury to post some impressive numbers. He was 5-1 with 75 strikeouts in 39 innings, finishing with an ERA of 1.62. At the plate, he hit .377 with four home runs and 29 RBIs.

Paden City's Wes Cosper, like a lot of these players, was a jack of all trades. He hit .427, a home run, drove in 32 and scored 38 runs, while going 5-3 with a 2.43 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 46 innings.

South Harrison, which was eliminated by Moorefield in the regional final, had two players selected in utility man Chase Snyder and pitcher Travis Gawthrop. Charleston Catholic also had two selections in catcher John Baird (.415, 12 doubles, 31 RBIs) and infielder Sam Wood (.402, six home runs, 51 RBIs).

Rounding out the first team is outfielder Wes Green (.412, 23 RBIs) from regional runner-up Williamstown; pitcher Jerry Berkley (10-1, 1.85 ERA, 75 strikeouts in 64 innings) of Wahama; and Gilmer County outfielder Josh Burton. Pocahontas County infielder Reid Harper was named the captain of the second team.

April 15, 2010
Knights hold on to beat Dons
By JOSH STROPE, special to the Herald-Star
WHEELING — Wheeling Central continued its hot week by showing defending Region One champion Weirton Madonna that it isn’t going to have an easy road to get back to the state tournament in Charleston. The Blue Dons then let the Maroon Knights know they are going to be more than a tough out. Wheeling Central jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first three innings before clinging to a 7-5 victory Thursday at the J.B. Chambers I-470 Complex, in a battle of two of the top Class A teams in West Virginia. ‘‘Once again you have two very good Class A teams playing each other,’’ Wheeling Central coach Jimbo Wodusky said. ‘‘We jumped out to an early lead and I knew the game wasn’t over until the last out. ‘‘We are making strides in the right direction but we have to keep making those strides. Madonna is one of the best teams in the state and we are very fortunate they didn’t pound the ball on us.’’ Weirton Madonna coach Jeff Baire sent Ryan Mendenhall to the hill and things didn’t go off the way he would have liked in the first. Wheeling Central managed just one hit in the inning — a single by Joey Baker — but two walks and an error put runners on the basepaths. P.J. Ratcliffe reached on an error on the second baseman that plated Jack Weishar. Ratcliffe came to home later in the inning on a wild pitch. In the inning, Wodusky noticed something about the Blue Dons’ sophomore hurler. ‘‘Their pitcher was being real slow and real deliberate,’’ Wodusky said. ‘‘His windup and his move were the same and I was hoping my guys could pick up on that.’’ Wheeling Central (8-7) stole three bases in the inning, plus another in the fourth. The Maroon Knights tacked on three runs in the second. Weishar singled home a run, Ratcliffe earned an RBI on a sacrifice fly, and Cody Willis earned a walk with the bases loaded to bring home Weishar and chase Mendenhall. ‘‘When you walk people against a solid team like they are and with the way they’ve been hitting the ball of late, that is the end result,’’ Baire said. ‘‘When we settled down, we started throwing strikes and making plays and things started to turn around. But a 7-0 hole is hard to come back from.’’ The Maroon Knights tacked two more in the third as a run scored on an error and another on a sacrifice fly by Derek Taylor. With soreness in his elbow sending Ratcliffe off the mound and into the field, Weirton Madonna (9-2) began to make its move on Wheeling Central’s relief pitchers. The Blue Dons chipped away with a run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Mendenhall, and two in the fifth with a sacrifice fly by Max Nogay and an RBI single by Logan Linder. In the the sixth, Madonna scored a run on a wild pitch with the bases loaded to bring the score to 7-4. All-stater Nogay was at the plate with runners at second and third but grounded out to the third baseman to end the threat. Linder led off the seventh with a single and was driven home on a double by Chris Perna, but Mic Keys slammed the door on the rally by getting Connor Mogan to fly out to right for the Maroon Knights victory. ‘‘We went down 7-0 and it would have been easy for us to fold up the tent,’’ Baire said. ‘‘We know what we have to do. There are some things we have to clean up. There are no guarantees. We have a solid team, but baseball is a funny game and any day you can get beat by anybody.’’ Wheeling Central 7, Weirton Madonna 5 Weirton Madonna 000 121 1 — 5 10 2 Wheeling Central 122 210 x — 7 8 3 MADONNA: Mendenhall LP (2K, 6BB), Mogan (2) (2K, 2BB) and Comis. Eloi 2-1B; M.Nogay 1B, RBI; Linder 2-1B, RBI; Comis 2-1B; Mendenhall RBI; Perna 2B, RBI. WHEELING CENTRAL: Ratcliffe (1K, 1BB), Fullerton (4) WP (1K, 1BB), Keys (6) (0K, 1BB), Willis (7) (1K, 0BB) and Taylor. Weishar 2-1B, 2B, RBI ; Ratcliffe RBI; Mirandy 2B; Willis RBI; Naumann 1B, 3B; Taylor RBI. Red Knights top Bears TORONTO — The Toronto baseball team scored six runs in the third inning in a 7-3 win over Oak Glen Thursday. Mike Garman got the win with seven strikeouts and a walk. Trevor Cooper had two doubles and an RBI. Chase Takacs hit a triple and two RBI. J.J. Miclea doubled for an RBI. Tyler Owens and Dave Porter each had a single and an RBI. For the Bears, Zach Mazezka doubled for two RBI and Seth Tustin had two hits. Toronto next plays Saturday in a doubleheader with Weir at Toronto. Toronto 7, Oak Glen 3 Oak Glen 100 101 0 – 3 8 3 Toronto 006 010 x – 7 7 2 OAK GLEN: Evans (LP, 3K, 5BB), Tustin (3rd, 1K, 2BB) and Koper; Z. Mazezka 2B, 2BRI; Tustin 2-1B. TORONTO (13-1): Garman (WP, 7K, 1BB) and Butler; Cooper 2-2B, RBI; Takacs 3B, 2RBI; Miclea 2B, RBI; Tyler Owens 1B, RBI; D. Porter 1B, RBI. Bruins roll by John Marshall WELLSBURG — Nick Breen and Kyle Wales each drove in three runs for Brooke in a 14-2 over rival John Marshall, Thursday. Breen had two doubles and a single. Wales had single and a double. Shane Paesano also had two doubles for an RBI. Paul DiPasquale had a hit with two RBI and Billy Perkins had an RBI single. Paseano was the winning pitcher with three strikeouts and two walks. Brooke is 5-9 and next plays Magnolia at home today. Brooke 14, John Marshall 2 John Marshall 002 00 – 2 3 2 Brooke 123 8x – 14 13 2 JOHN MARSHALL: Riggs (LP, 1K, 0BB), Varner (4th, 0K, 3BB), Yocum (1K, 2BB) and Troy; Yocum 2B, RBI; Troy 1B, 2B. BROOKE (5-9): Paesano (WP, 3K, 2BB) and Breen; Alward 3B, 2-1B, RBI; Breen 2-2B, 1B, 3RBI; Paesano 2-2B, RBI; Perkins 1B, RBI; Wales 1B, 2B, 3RBI; DiPasquale 1B, 2RBI.

Edward Nogay to receive Aquinas Medal

Madonna High School is pleased to announce that Edward Nogay has been chosen as this year’s Aquinas Medal winner and will receive the award on Sunday, March 21st in Morgantown at the Waterfront Hotel. Eddie is a senior at Madonna High School where he maintains a 4.0 grade point average and is currently ranked #1 in his class. He has served as class president all four years at Madonna. He is a member of the National Honor Society and was chosen to attend the American Legion Boys State and Wheeling Youth Leadership Conference. He is a member of the Pro-Life Club, the Prayer Club, the Drama Club, and is currently President of the Interact Club and SADD Club. In addition to his academic success, Eddie is a four year letterman in baseball and was named all-state as a junior by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association after compiling an 8-1 record as a pitcher, helping to lead Madonna to its first-ever state baseball playoff appearance. He was a two-way starter on this year’s 14-0 Madonna State Championship Football team and is a three-year letterman in football. He was named to the All Mason-Dixon League Team. Eddie is also a four-year letterman in wrestling and was an OVAC place winner and state qualifier as a sophomore. Eddie’s college plans right now are incomplete as he waits to hear from some of the top schools in the country.
                                                      Eddie is the son Mike and Robin Nogay
The Madonna JV team moves to 5-1 on the year with a 6-4 win Wednesday evening at Steubenville. Anthony Fulmer picked up his first career win on the mound, and Nick Battista picked up the save. Nick has thrown 11 innings on the year without allowing a run. Pat McCune picked up two more hits, and Doug Howell went 3-4 with a double. The team is back in action tonight as they travel to Wheeling Central for a 7pm start.

Small things not accomplished in Blue Dons’ defeat

By ASHLEY NEWMAN, sports writer

CHARLESTON - During the course of what was an extended baseball season, Weirton Madonna head coach Jeff Baire preached to his team to always do the small things in each game. One of those small things that Baire has consistently pointed to has been getting the timely hits with runners in scoring position.

In Friday's 5-3 loss in 10 innings to Man in the West Virginia Class A state semifinals at Appalachian Power Park, Baire looked like a prophet, as his team stranded 16 runners on base.

"We've had our problems with that. You knew that, eventually, if there was going to be a thing that was going to cost us, that was it. We had our opportunities to end the ballgame early and didn't do it," Baire said. "This is what happens when you don't take advantage of those opportunities."

In what was an epic marathon, each team had opportunities to pull away and, just when it seemed that one side would get a foothold, the other would come up with a big play. Through the first five innings, it was a classic pitchers duel, as each offense struggled to find a rhythm.

Madonna's Max Nogay pitched brilliantly, giving up no hits heading into the top of the fifth inning. It was then that the Hillbillies struck first. In a scoreless game, Evan Riggins led off the frame with a double and, two batters later, Tyler Grimmit hit a scorching line drive to deep center field, plating Riggins to give Man the 1-0 lead.

Nogay would eventually get out of the inning with minimal damage, forcing a flyout with the bases loaded.

Man was also having success on the mound, as starter Cory Spence gave up just three hits and no runs going into the bottom of the sixth inning in nursing the 1-0 advantage. With the game winding down, it appeared as though the single run may be enough to pull out the victory, but the Blue Dons were not about to go down that quietly.

Nogay and Logan Linder drew consecutive walks to start the inning and Man head coach, spotting that Spence may have been wearing down, wasted little time going to his bullpen. He called upon Jordan Simpson to attempt to get his team out of a two on, no out jam.

The move seemed ingenious, as Simpson struck out Madonna's Lou Comis and Anthony Pietranton, respectively.

But, a wild pitch to Chris Perna allowed Nogay to cross the plate, tying the game, 1-1, before Simpson could get out of the inning.

While the Blue Dons finally appeared to be mounting an offense, Baire felt as though it could have come earlier.

"The biggest thing that we didn't do was make the adjustments," he said. "They threw the ball outside on us all day long and we never made the adjustment until it was too late."

Man began the top of the seventh inning with a bang, as Cody Harvey hit a triple to deep center field. Baire decided that it was time for a pitching change and brought in Ed Nogay to replace Max Nogay.

After Ed Nogay recorded the first out of the inning on a slow groundout to first, Harvey scored on a wild pitch to put Man up 2-1, bringing the Hillbillies' section to its collective feet.

Nogay would get out of the inning and, down to its final three outs, hopes looked dim for the Blue Dons. But, as they have all season, Baire and his squad rallied when it had to.

Chris Eloi started the inning with a double to left field. Austin Pitchok followed with a sacrifice bunt and, suddenly, Madonna had the tying run at third base with just one out.

George Magnone would make it 2-2 with an RBI single to shallow right field, as the Madonna fans reacted joyously. Linder would hit a two-out single and, after an intentional walk, the Blue Dons had bases loaded with two outs.

Pietranton grounded out to second base, however, ending the threat and sending the game into extra innings.

In the top of the 10th, things began to fall apart for the Blue Dons. After Simpson reached base after being hit by a pitch to start the inning, Man's Steven Craddock moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt. Travis Hurley followed with a single to center and Man had runners at the corners and just one out.

Nogay would not be able to get out of this jam as cleanly as he had earlier in the game, as Duke Vance smacked a single to center field, plating two runners and giving Man a 4-2 advantage. Evan Riggins hit a double off of the wall to put runners on second and third with just one out.

That is when Baire decided to go to his bullpen and bring in Magnone to try and slow the Man momentum. Magnone forced a sacrifice fly from Harvey, but Vance skipped across the plate to make it 5-2 with two outs. Magnone forced a flyout to end the inning, but the damage had been done.

Baire credited the Man hitters with making serious contact on difficult pitches.

"We played good defensively and we made the plays that we had to make. There isn't really a whole lot that we could have done on a lot of their hits. Remembering back, many of their hits were on pitches that were well above the letters," Baire said. "If they are going to go up and get those pitches, you just have to tip your hat to them.

"Most of their hard hit balls were pitches that were shoulder high."

Baire pointed to several instances of Man hitters being able to work their way back after falling behind in the count as a catalyst for much of the trouble.

"When you have a guy down 0-2 and he works himself back to 3-2, any time that you see that many pitches, you are going to wind up getting something to hit that you like. That, to me, was a big thing. A lot of the hits that they had were in situations where we got ahead early and couldn't finish a guy off," Baire said.

"When you give that guy an extra five or six pitches to see, he is going to eventually time you up."

Pitchok delivered a double to the center field wall with two outs in the 10th inning. Magnone followed with an RBI single to center to make it 5-3 with Max Nogay representing the tying run at the plate.

Nogay hit a hard bouncer to the shortstop and Man elected to try for the lead out at second base. The ball and Magnone arrived almost simultaneously and the umpire ruled the play as an out, ending the game and sending Man into a frenzied celebration.

While the play was close, Baire agreed with the call.

"If he goes in with his foot down, I think he would have made it. But, his foot was up and, from my vantage point, he was out," Baire said.

"If he would have had his foot down, I would have probably rushed out there to argue the call and got thrown out, but it looked like he had his foot up and the throw just made it."

The rally in the 10th inning was something that Baire has seen from his squad all year long, as the Blue Dons refused to get down after falling behind.

"That is a testament to the guys," Baire said. "We never quit the entire year. We were in a couple of adverse situations where things could have blown up in our face. We fought back and, at the end of the day, a 22-4 record is not bad at all. We have a lot to go on.

"I lose three seniors and those are going to be tough guys to replace. But, I like where we stand for the future. Simply the fact of getting here is huge. It is a very big step for our program and our kids. But, it is also going to place an emphasis on putting the ball in play and not leaving a large amount of guys on base.

"That is something that we have talked about since the beginning of the year. You have to put the ball in play and hit it hard."

Linder led the Madonna offense three singles. The freshman came up big in several instances during the course of the game.

"Nothing that he does on the baseball field amazes me," Baire said of Linder. "He's solid and the reason for that is, if you look at his swing, there is very little movement.

"Everything is very fluid and it is the same swing every time.

"Chris Eloi, a sophomore, also had three hits. That makes seven hits from a freshman and a sophomore.

"But, I can't say enough about my guys, whether I'm talking about the bottom of the order, the top of the order, or the guys on the bench.

"They played their hearts out this year and we know what we have to do to improve what we have to in order to get better for next year.

"It is unfortunate that it happened the way that it did, but that was a heck of a ballgame. On this stage, to go 10 innings is just phenomenal."


Blue Dons off to Charleston


Sports writer

WEIRTON - Next stop - Charleston.

In a game that, for the first few innings, seemed destined to come down to the wire, the Weirton Madonna baseball team exploded in the fifth inning en route to an 8-1 decision over Williamstown in the West Virginia Class A regional championship at Edwin J. Bowman Field Wednesday.

With the victory, Madonna punches its ticket for the state semifinal in Charleston. The Blue Dons' second-year head coach Jeff Baire could barely contain his excitement over the run his squad has made thus far.

"Words can't even explain what this means to us. This is something that we have talked about and we, as a coaching staff, had the philosophy that we wanted to follow to get to this point. That included doing the small things that would wind up winning games consistently," Baire explained. "The kids have bought in to everything that we have done.

"It starts with the kids," he continued. "We have an idea of what we want to do as coaches, but it is up to the guys to actually do everything on the field and they have done those things this year."

Leading the way for Madonna was shortstop Max Nogay, who registered three homers on the day and knocked in six of the Blue Dons' eight runs.

"Today's win is a testament to all of the small things that we did well," Baire said. "We were fortunate enough through the course of the season to get the big hit when we really needed it. Sure enough, Max (Nogay) came through today.

"Something that I've heard from four or five different people that follow the team is that Max just will not let the team lose. After a performance like this, it is tough to argue against that."

Nogay began taking control early in the contest, hitting a two-run home run to left field off of Williamstown starting pitcher Lane Knost in the bottom of the first inning to give Madonna the early advantage.

Meanwhile, the Blue Dons' George Magnone seemed in complete control on the mound. The senior held the Yellowjackets scoreless for the two innings. In the top of the third inning, base hits by Williamstown's William Green and David Huggins resulted in Williamstown's first run, but with the bases loaded and two outs, Magnone struck out Logan Flanagan to end the rally with minimal damage.

Williamstown head coach Terry Smith was impressed with the senior hurler's resilience.

"Magnone came up big again right there," he said. "He had to make the pitches to get through those tough situations and he did."

With the score still 2-1, the Yellowjackets would threaten again in the top of the fifth inning when Green hit a ball that appeared to be going foul, but stayed in the field of play. As the Madonna defense scrambled to the ball, Williamstown's Alex Abshire headed home. The runner was gunned down, however, as Lou Comis covered the plate perfectly to end the threat and retain the one-run advantage.

"There are always excuses that you can use and you can always say that there were close calls that didn't go our way," Smith said. "But, at the end of the day, we still only scored one run. So, I think you have to give the credit to Madonna's pitcher and their defense.

"They are a very good team and I think that they will go down to states and do well."

After the swing of momentum that ended the Williamstown rally, Madonna would put its stamp on the contest in the bottom of the fifth inning when Nogay launched a three-run home run to center field, bringing the Madonna crowd to its feet and sending the victors' dugout to home plate, greeting Nogay in celebration. With a swing of the bat, Madonna had a commanding 5-1 lead. It would add another run before the frame was over

The power-hitting shortstop was not done. He would add a solo homer in the sixth inning, this time to left field. Anthony Pietranton and Logan Linder would also contribute base knocks in the frame, pushing the Madonna lead to 8-1 with just one inning remaining.

Magnone ended things in a hurry in the seventh inning, striking out three consecutive batters after giving up a lead-off single.

"George (Magnone) is phenomenal," Baire said. "He has done this in both seasons that I have been here. When it gets to the big game, he wants the ball. This year, with him being a senior, he has been a horse and we pretty much rode him today.

"You can also look at our defense," he continued. "We had one error and we were able to stay down on hard hit balls and make the plays. To get to where we want to be - and we are actually in that situation now - those are the small things that you have to do. If it means that you have to take one off of the chin, then that is what you have to do. But, you have to stay in there and keep fighting."

Smith's assessment of what transpired was rather simple and to the point.

"Two things stood out to me. Obviously, the shortstop - Nogay - had a great day. But, if you are going to look at one guy who really controlled this game, it was the guy on the mound (Magnone)," Smith said. "He was super.

"Nothing else really matters when you get right down to it. They could hit 20 home runs, but the guy on the hill is the key. This of year, it always comes back to pitching. He was just tremendous and my hat is off to him."

Magnone finished with nine strikeouts and only one walk in his complete game victory.

While Williamstown ends its season with a 14-12 mark, Smith is positive about the program's future.

"We only had three seniors and we had some young guys who were getting their first opportunities. From a coaching standpoint, it was a fun year. The guys did a great job," Smith said. "The last couple of years, we've had senior dominated teams and, this year, we just had the three seniors.

"On top of that, one of those seniors had a separated shoulder and the other was coming off of a broken leg," he continued. "So, I feel badly for those guys and you hate to say that you are looking forward to next year, because there is no next year for those seniors. But, I do think that things look good for next year just because of the way that the underclassmen came out and competed this year."

Madonna (22-3) will now prepare to take its show on the road, heading to Charleston for its state semifinal game on June 5 against an opponent and at a time to be announced.

"We'll give them a couple of days, because we don't play again until Friday," Baire said. "So, we'll give them a couple of days to celebrate. We gave them a little bit of time to enjoy it after we beat (Wheeling) Central, so we'll do that again with this win.

"But, after those couple of days, we will have to re-focus again," he continued. "With this team, though, when it is practice time, the guys are usually pretty focused. If you want to make strides and get better as a baseball team, you have to be willing and able to focus when you don't have that game that is sitting a day or two out. I'm fortunate that this group of guys really understands that."

(Newman can be contacted at

Madonna 8, Williamstown 1

Williamstown 001 000 0 - 1 7 3

Madonna 200 051 x - 8 12 1

WILLIAMSTOWN (14-12): Knost LP (4IP, 3K, 3BB), MacIver (0IP, 0K, 0BB), Gray (2IP, 3K, 0BB) and Flanagan; Green 3-1B; Huggins 2B, RBI; Yeager 1B; Radabaugh 1B; Abshire 1B.

MADONNA (22-3): Magnone WP (9K, 1BB) and Comis; M. Nogay 3-HR, 6RBI; Linder 2-1B, 2B; Comis 1B, RBI; Perna 2-1B; Pietranton 1B; Pitchok 1B; Magnone 1B.


Madonna one win from Final Four

By MIKE MATHISON, sports editor

WEIRTON - Madonna baseball coach Jeff Baire and Cameron mentor Eric James were in agreement after the Blue Dons knocked the Dragons out of the West Virginia Class A baseball playoffs, 10-0, Monday in five innings at Bowman Field.

Neither were big fans of waiting some nine days since their sectional title wins to play the regional semifinal.

The Westest is a yearly assessment test in West Virginia and is required for all public school students. Athletic contests may not be played during the testing. It was held last week and concluded Thursday.

"Westest, as important as it is academically, from a coaching standpoint, it does kind of put you in a rut as far as things go," said James. "It's tough to grind out five to seven days of practice when you've been playing games all year. You don't use that as an excuse because everybody's kind of in the same boat when it comes to that, but, still it's hard."

"I would have preferred to keep playing, but that's me as a player and a coach," Baire said of the week off between the two victories over Wheeling Central and Monday's third contest with Cameron. "I would rather have had two of three days off and get right back at it, sort of how Ohio does it where you don't have that big of a layoff.

"My challenge this past week and my challenge to our coaching staff was trying to figure out how to keep these guys motivated."

After Cameron pitcher Jacob Koontz got out of the first inning without giving up a run on two hits, the 21-3 Blue Dons plated two in the second and four in the third.

Lou Comis started the second with a double. He moved to third on passed ball and scored when the throw to third went into left field. Anthony Pietranton followed with a single and, two outs later, scored on Chris Eloi's triple.

Max Nogay, the winning pitcher with seven strikeouts and three walks, began the third inning with a walk. Logan Linder's double scored Nogay and Comis followed with a single to bring home Linder. Comis scored on Chris Perna's sacrifice fly and Eloi plated Eddie Nogay, who reached on an error and stole second, with a single.

"My hat is off to Jeff and Madonna," said James. "They do a nice job with the kids up here. Timely hitting and making plays is what baseball is all about and Madonna did that today. Max Nogay is an excellent pitcher. He did a good job of keeping our hitters off-balance and swinging at pitches that we normally wouldn't swing at."

The Blue Dons, after leaving the bases loaded in the fourth inning, scored four times in the bottom of the fifth to end the game.

Eddie Nogay reached on an error again and scored on Eloi's double. Pitchok doubled and Eloi scored on George Magnone's sacrifice fly.

After a pitching change, Cameron's Steve McDonald recorded an out and Linder followed with a single that scored Pitchok. Comis reached on the Dragons' fourth error and Pietranton's single plated to Linder to finish things.

"I was actually surprised a little today, especially after the Wheeling Central win," said Baire. "It would have been easy for these guys to say 'hey, we did what we needed to do' and come out here and lay an egg.

"They worked hard during those practices and we came out today and did what we needed to do. These guys are hungry and that's a testament to them."

"I fully believed if we could have hung in there for two or three innings, get some timely hitting and get some runs generated, we had a good chance," said James. "But, to finish the season at 16-11 is pretty positive as far as a turnaround for our program.

"We've had two losing seasons each of the last two years.

"We've won sectional titles four of the last five years. We're heading in the right direction."

Cameron had two hits - a single by Ryan Hughes and double by Michael Scott - and twice as many errors.

The Blue Dons will play for the regional championship on Wednesday at Bowman Field.

They will play the winner of the game between Wirt County and Williamstown.

That contest was to be finished today with Williamstown leading 4-3 with two outs in the fourth inning. It was halted because of weather.

Game time for Wednesday has not been determined.

(Mathison can be contacted at

Madonna 10, Cameron 0

Cameron 000 00 0 2 4

Madonna 024 04 10 13 0

CAMERON (16-11): J. Koontz (LP, 4K, 3BB), McDonald (0K, 0BB) and Neely; Hughes 1B, Scott 2B.

MADONNA (21-3): M. Nogay (WP, 7K, 3BB) and Comis; Eloi 1B, 2B, 3B, 3RBI; Pitchok 1B, 2B; G. Magnone RBI; M. Nogay 1B; Linder 1B, 2B, 2RBI; Comis 1B, 2B, RBI; Pietranton 2-1B, RBI; Perna RBI.



And Goliath fell:

Dons finally beat Wheeling Central for sectional crown

By NICK BEDWAY, Special to The Weirton Daily Times

POSTED: May 16, 2009Bottom of Form


GLEN DALE - Earlier this week, a comment by another Ohio Valley high school coach might best describe Madonna's 4-3 victory against Wheeling Central that clinched the Blue Dons' first West Virginia Class A Region 1, Section 1 baseball championship in nearly two decades.

After watching his team rally from a five-run deficit in the late innings on Wednesday to avoid elimination, Wheeling Park head coach Chad Stout said, ''Nothing worthwhile comes easy.''

That surely was the case for Coach Jeff Baire's Blue Dons as they avoided an inning-ending double play by an eyelash to score the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh and then threw out a potential game-tying tally at home plate for the final out of the game.''

''Wow, what a great ball game,'' said Madonna coach Jeff Baire. ''This is the fourth time we've played Wheeling Central this season and every game has gone right down to the end. This is phenomenal, but I'm feeling kind of surreal right now. I'm sure I'll enjoy this great victory by our kids a lot better (Saturday) when we start thinking about playing in the regional tournament.''

Entering Friday's clash needing back-to-back victories against Madonna (20-3) to retain their sectional crown, the Maroon Knights fell behind 3-0 in the top of the first but battled back to tie the game before the fateful seventh inning.

The Blue Dons put a potential go-ahead run on base with none out in the top of the final frame when Chris Eloi drew a walk. It was the fourth-straight time for Eloi to get aboard. He also walked leading off the game, then singled in the second and began the fifth inning with a ringing double into right centerfield only to be nipped at third base on a couple of outstanding throws by Cody Willis in right field and the relay from shortstop Anthony Tighe to Budda Henry, who applied the tag.

After his walk in the seventh, Eloi stole second base and was held at third as Austin Pitchok singled to center. At this point, Wheeling Central Coach Jimbo Wodusky brought his injured left-handed pitching ace Jack Weishar into the game to try and get the Maroon Knights out of the jam.

Weishar, who has been nursing an ankle injury, nearly accomplished the mission when he induced Madonna's toughest hitter in the lineup - senior George Magnone - to rap a potential doubleplay ground ball to shortstop. The slightest bobble before Tighe flipped the ball to second baseman Joel Jarrett gave Magnone just enough time to beat the relay to first as Eloi crossed the plate, putting the Blue Dons in front to stay.

Central then got out of the inning without any further damage when cleanup hitter Max Nogay pop fly into short right was caught by sophomore Joel Jarrett, the Maroon Knights' starting pitcher who moved to second base when the pitching change was made.

Magnone pitched and could have had a shutout entering the bottom of the seventh if not for a couple of gift hits on balls. . In the seventh, he started quickly with a strikeout of P.J. Ratcliffe, the Central leadoff hitter who had singled twice and doubled in three previous plate appearances. Budda Henry drove a long fly into right-center field that was run down by Jared Magnone for out No. 2. It was the second time bailed his cousin out of a major jam in the first inning by flashing across the outfield to pick off a line drive by Joey Baker with the bases loaded and two outs.

Now just one pitch away from a possible victory, the Blue Don ace ran into problems. Central catcher Adam Parsons hit a slow bouncer down the third base line that went for an infield single. Tim Mirandy, 2-for-3 in his previous plate appearances with two RBIs, drew a walk on four pitches.

Zeke Taylor ran the count to 3-0 before Magnone finally threw a strike. Then came the play of the season for Blue Dons. Taylor hit a hard grounder that appeared to headed into centerfield for a game-tying base-hit. However Nogay dove to knock the ball down, bounced up and fired a strike to catcher Lou Comis in plenty of time to tag out Parsons and start the celebration for the Madonna, players, coaches and fans.

''I thought the ball had gone through for a hit and was wheeling him (Parsons) all the around from the get-go,'' said the dejected Wodusky, who was coaching third base. I guess that makes it my fault. When their kid (Nogay) got up, the ball was right underneath him and he was able to pick it up and throw home.''

Nearly forgotten because of the wild seventh inning was the pitching performances of both starters.

Although he admitted ''tensing up'' in the last inning on a day in which he threw 120 pitches, George Magnone struck out seven, walked four and scattered nine hits, at three of which were the ''tainted'' variety.

''George has electric stuff,'' Baire said his praising his gutty pitcher. ''And he gives us a tremendous effort all the time.''

The Blue Dons teed off against the sophomore Jarrett in the first inning but couldn't do much with him the rest of the way. After throwing 40 pitches and allowing three runs during that opening frame, Jarrett responded by shutting out Madonna over the next five innings.

Baire admitted he considered having Magnone bunt in the top of the seventh inning after his team put runners on first and third with just one out. It looked like an ideal situation with the injured Weishar on the mound and third baseman Henry still stationed at the cut of the grass.

''I'm a player's coach,'' Baire explained. ''I want to have faith in all my players and George certainly deserved a chance to knock in the winning run. Fortunately, Central couldn't turn the doubleplay so everything worked out.''

Madonna's opening inning rally began with a Eloi walk and stolen base. After Jarrett struck out Pitchok, George Magnone belted a ground ball up the middle for an RBI single. Nogay singled Magnone to second followed by a passed ball that put runners on second and third ahead of the two-run single by Comis.

Central closed the gap to 3-2 in the bottom of the third, the rally starting on Ratcliffe's infield single to deep short. Two outs later, Mirandy's popper down the right field line eluded Eloi and went for a scratch RBI double. Zeke Taylor hit a rope to left field to plate the second run.

Ratcliffe doubled in the fifth inning and scored the tying run after another ball hit by Mirandy fell in front of the Madonna outfielder for what was scored an RBI single.

''The misplays we had in right field tells you what kind of pressure game this was,'' pointed out Baire. ''That kid hasn't made a mistake out there all year. But he did a good job at the plate today and scored the winning run for us in the seventh.''

Fact Box

West Virginia Region 1, Section 1 Class A Finals

Madonna 4, Wheeling Central Catholic 3

Madonna 300 000 1 - 4 7 1
Wheeling Central 002 010 0 - 3 9 1

MADONNA: G. Magnone WP (7K, 4BB) and Comis. Eloi 1B, 2B; G. Magnone 1B, 2RBI; M. Nogay 1B, 2B; Comis 1B, 2RBI.

WHEELING CENTRAL: Jarrett LP (5K, 3BB), Weishar (7) (0K, 0BB) and Parsons. Ratcliffe 2-1B, 2B; Mirandy 2B, 1B, 2RBI; Z. Taylor 2-1B, RBI.

Dons finally defeat Knights

By JIM ELLIOTT, special to the Herald-Star

POSTED: May 14, 2009


GLEN DALE - For seven innings Wednesday, Weirton Madonna hitters were peppering the outfield with baseballs and had very little to show for it, outside of a bunch of crooked numbers in the left on base category.

In the eighth, no one hit it more than 100 feet, but two walks, two bleeders and two infield singles added up to four runs, and the Blue Dons finally cashed in on their way to a 9-5 victory against Wheeling Central in a West Virginia Class A sectional.

This was one blooper reel Weirton Madonna coach Jeff Baire can't wait to watch again.

''We've been on the wrong side of those over the course of my coaching tenure,'' he said. ''It's nice every now and then to get one to go your way.''

Tied at 4-4 entering the eighth, the Blue Dons had already stranded 11, twice leaving the bases loaded.

In the fourth through the sixth inning, they left eight on in a game in which they had an astounding 21 baserunners.

''It's a situation that we talked about all year long,'' Baire said. ''You have to want to be the guy standing in the box when you've got runners in scoring position. In the three losses we've had this year, we've left a boatload of guys on.

"I think it's guys walking to the box scratching their head going, 'is it me? Really?' You have to change that attitude, that's the first thing that has to happen. We did a little bit better toward the end of the ballgame.''

That they did.

In the eighth, Austin Pitchok and George Magnone worked back-to-back walks on a combined eight pitches by two Wheeling Central hurlers. Max Nogay followed with an infield single to load the bases, ahead of a Logan Linder liner to short right field over a drawn-in infield that brought in two runs.

Lou Comis followed with an RBI single in front of another infield hit by Anthony Pietranton that pushed home the final run.

After reliever Ed Nogay worked around a walk and a pinch-hit single in the bottom of the eighth, the Blue Dons celebrated in an unfamiliar spot - the tournament's driver's seat.

''First time we've been here in a very long time,'' Baire said. ''A very long time.''

The wild eighth inning capped a see-saw battle where Madonna erased deficits of 1-0, 4-2, and 5-4 just to force extra innings.

Wheeling Central scored first when starting pitcher P.J. Ratcliffe doubled, moved to third on wild pitch, and scored on Budda Henry's single to left.

Two batters later, Tim Mirandy doubled to right-center but Henry was cut down at the plate on a fine relay throw from Ed Nogay, who was playing shortstop in that first inning.

It stayed that way until the third when Madonna jumped back in front, 2-1, on Ed Nogay's bases-loaded walk - one of nine walks issued by Wheeling Central pitchers - and Max Nogay's RBI double.

It was the first of two RBI doubles and four hits for Max Nogay, who also pitched the first six innings for Madonna.

Central scored three in the fourth with one scoring on Cody Willis' single, one on Derek Taylor's groundout, and another on an error.

After the Maroon Knights scored an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth to take a 5-4 lead, Madonna tied it when Ratcliffe dropped a short flyball to center with one out, allowing Pietranton to score from third base.

Wheeling Central coach Jimbo Wodusky left immediately following the game and was unavailable for comment.

Madonna 9, Wheeling Central 5

Madonna 000 220 14 - 9 13 2

Wheeling Central 100 301 00 - 5 7 1

MADONNA: M.Nogay (5K, 5BB), E.Nogay WP (7th) (4K, 1BB) and Comis. Pitchok 2-1B, 2B; M.Nogay 2-2B, 2-1B, 2RBI; Linder 1B, 2RBI; Comis 1B, RBI; Pietranton 2-1B, 2RBI; E.Nogay RBI.

WHEELING CENTRAL: Ratcliffe (7K, 4BB), Mirandy LP (5th) (0K, 4BB), Tighe (8th) (1K, 1BB) and Parsons. Ratcliffe 2B; Henry 2-1B, RBI; Willis 1B, RBI; Taylor RBI.


Madonna wins three at Catholic Tournament
From staff reports, The Herald Star Online
CLARKSBURG - The Weirton Madonna baseball team entered the Clarksburg Notre Dame Catholic Tournament with a chip on its shoulder and left with three victories and no defeats.

On Saturday, Madonna began things with a hard-fought 7-3 win over Parkersburg Catholic. George Magnone earned the victory with 14 strikeouts and just one walk in seven innings pitched.

The Madonna offense was led by Logan Linder's double, two singles, and three RBI. Max Nogay added three singles and three RBI.

The nightcap featured Madonna battering Charleston Catholic, the No. 6 ranked team in Class A West Virginia.

Madonna scored nine runs in the fifth inning to punctuate the solid effort.

Ed Nogay earned the victory, striking out three and walking two in seven innings.

Magnone led the Blue Dons' offense with a single, a double, a triple, and three RBI.

On Friday, Madonna scored early and often in a 17-7 victory over host Clarksburg Notre Dame.

Max Nogay picked up the win, striking out seven and walking one in four innings pitched.

Austin Pitchock led the Madonna offense with a single, a double, and three RBI. Chris Eloi chipped in with a single, a double and two RBI, while Magnone added a triple, two singles, and two RBI for the victors.

Madonna (10-2) will travel to Toronto for a 5 p.m. start today.

Game 1

Madonna 7, Parkersburg Catholic 3

Madonna 050 002 0 - 7 12 1
Parkersburg Catholic 010 200 0 - 3 2 2

MADONNA: G. Magnone WP (14K, 1BB) and Comis; Eloi 2B; M. Nogay 3-1B, 3RBI; Linder 2B, 2-1B, 3RBI; J. Magnone 2-1B.

PARKERSBURG: Fox LP (2K, 2BB) and Romine; Walters 2B; Steely 1B.

Game 2

Madonna 16, Charleston Catholic 1

Madonna 402 090 0 - 15 14 0

Charleston Catholic 100 000 0 - 1 3 2

MADONNA (10-2): E. Nogay WP (3K, 2BB) and Comis; Eloi 1B; Pitchock 1B, 2RBI; G. Magnone 1B, 2B, 3B, 3RBI; Linder 1B, RBI; Comis 1B, 2B, 3RBI; Pietranton 1B, 2B, 3RBI; J. Magnone 2-1B, 2B, 2RBI; E. Nogay 2B, 2RBI.

CHARLESTON: Bobinger LP (3K, 4BB), Hoyer (5th, 0K, 2BB), Goulsby (0K, 0BB) and Baird; Baird 2-1B.


Madonna 17, Clarksburg Notre Dame 7

Madonna 300 723 2 - 17 16 2

Clarksburg 000 232 0 - 7 8 4

MADONNA: M. Nogay WP (4IP, 7K, 1BB), Mogan (4K, 2BB) and Comis; Eloi 1B, 2B, 2RBI; Pitchock 1B, 2B, 3RBI; G. Magnone 3B, 2-1B, 2RBI; M. Nogay 1B, 2RBI; Linder 1B, 2RBI; J. Magnone 2B, 2RBI; Comis 2-1B, 2B, RBI.

CLARKSBURG: Ellis (1IP, 1K, 0BB), Tucci (1st, 1K, 1BB), Nutter (4th, 2K, 2BB), Mariano (2K, 0BB) and Shreves; Nicholson 1B, 2B; Shaw 2B, 2RBI.

Clarksburg Bishops Cup - Day 2


Nogay homer seals win over Weir in baseball play
By ASHLEY NEWMAN, Sports Writer, Weirton Daily Times 
WEIRTON — After battling back from an early deficit, the Weirton Madonna baseball team showed its resolve and, with one swing of the bat, Max Nogay ended things for a 5-3 victory over rival Weir High at Edwin J. Bowman Field Thursday. With two outs and a runner on second base in the bottom of the seventh inning, Nogay clubbed the Chris Bittinger offering to center field. After touching home plate, Nogay was mobbed by his jubilant teammates. “We had two outs and we were ready to get off of the field,” Madonna head coach Jeff Baire said. “All of a sudden, the big hit came. That was great for Max, because he has been pressing. Coming back from the injury, it has been tough for him. “He has been limited in what he can do and what we will let him do, to a certain extent. Hopefully, this is what will get him back on track.” It was the second loss that came down to the final play for Bill Magnone’s Red Riders. Their bid to tie Wednesday’s game against Big Red fell short with a runner thrown out at home plate for the final out. “Our pitchers are behind in the count way too much,” Magnone explained. “That is the one area that we have to get better in. Anybody can hit you when you get far behind in the count and you have to throw fastballs. “But, I give credit to Max. He went with it and it was a good hit. He really crushed it.” George Magnone earned the win on the mound, striking out five and walking one in his seven innings of work. “George worked his way out of a couple of jams,” Baire said. “We definitely didn’t give him a lot of help today with the glove on a couple of different occasions. Fortunately, those errors happened when they couldn’t really hurt us.” Weir’s offense got off to a good start, scoring its three runs in the first two innings. In the top of the first, singles by Chad Ford and Cameron Rauch were followed by an RBI single by Brian Perkins, giving the Red Riders an early 1-0 lead. In the top of the second inning, Weir continued its offensive production, getting singles from Mike Salko and Justin Horstman and scoring two runs to extend its lead to 3-0. “This has been a very disturbing pattern in all three of our games,” Baire said. “We have been starting off slow, giving up unearned runs, and putting ourselves in a hole. Eventually, we’re not going to get a chance to get out of that hole.” Madonna got on the board in the bottom of the second inning when Logan Linder hit a single and made his way around the bases after several Weir fielding errors, cutting the lead to 3-1. Linder added an RBI single in the third inning. “The guys never gave up today and they kept battling,” Baire said. “We went down 3-0 and we kept chipping away.” Magnone took the reigns from there, holding Weir scoreless and allowing just two hits over the last five innings. “I know George very well,” coach Magnone said. “He is a heck of a pitcher. He threw a great game and he deserved the win.” Linder and Anthony Pietranton both reached base on fielding errors in the bottom of the sixth inning and Chris Eloi came through with a clutch hit, tying the game, 3-3. “Billy (Magnone) does a heck of a job with those guys,” Baire said. “They have a really solid group of guys over there and we were fortunate to come out ahead today.” Madonna (2-1) was led by Nogay’s home run, double, and two RBI. “We are coming along fine,” Baire said. “We have to come out and understand that we have to play from the very second that we walk across the white lines. We cannot continue to wait until the third inning to start playing baseball. “By that time, against a lot of teams, it is going to be too late. Aside from that, we are coming along OK. We’re not missing the signs, which was a bad problem in the first game. “Overall, I’m happy with where we are at.” Madonna will travel to Vaccaro Field to face Catholic Central at 4:30 p.m. today. Bittinger struck out seven and walked 11. “Chris threw a good game,” Bill Magnone said. “We want him a little more ahead in the count, but he came up with some big outs a few times. He was up around 100 pitches and he got a little tired, but we felt comfortable with our ace on the mound and we wanted to give him the game. “Most of the time, he gets it for us.” Weir will host Martins Ferry and Cambridge for a doubleheader starting at noon Saturday. (Newman can be contacted at Madonna 5, Weir 3 Weir 120 000 0 – 3 7 4 Madonna 011 001 2 – 5 4 7 WEIR (1-2): Bittinger (LP, 7K, 11BB) and LeMasters; Rauch 2-1B; Ford 1B; Perkins 1B, RBI; Taflan 1B; Salko 1B; Horstman 1B. MADONNA (2-1): G. Magnone (WP, 5K, 1BB) and Comis; M. Nogay HR, 2B, 2RBI; Linder 2-1B, RBI; Eloi RBI.
Madonna edges Toronto
By ASHLEY NEWMAN, sports writer
WEIRTON - As the lights flickered on and the grass at Edwin J. Bowman Field became illuminated under the night sky, fans who were expecting a clash between two of the area's hottest teams in Weirton Madonna and Toronto were treated to a classic battle Wednesday.

With a big lead whittled down to one run in the top of the seventh inning, Weirton Madonna head coach Jeff Baire called upon George Magnone to calm the storm. The senior responded with three straight strikeouts to give the Blue Dons a hard-fought 10-9 decision.

After Madonna entered the seventh inning with a 10-7 lead, back-to-back home runs by Toronto's Jordan Cooper and Travis Butler cut the Blue Dons' lead to 10-9 with no outs.

"They had 'uncle mo' on their side, for sure," Baire said. "With two back-to-back home runs to start the seventh inning, we figured that we would give him the opportunity to come in and fill another role.

"At the same time, I'm very happy with the way that Eddie (Nogay) performed. He threw a really good game up until he got too high in his pitch count and we took him out. Logan (Linder) did what we needed him to do, too. He got a double-play ball to get us out of the sixth inning.

"So, I was happy. We just have to eliminate some of the mistakes."

After Toronto took an early 1-0 lead, Madonna exploded in the bottom of the second inning for five runs.

Recording base hits in the frame were Nogay, Magnone, Chris Eloi, and Austin Pitchok.

Toronto began chipping away at the lead in the top of the fifth inning, scoring two runs on singles by Mitch Ludewig and Mike Garman.

"Toronto battles and we knew that coming in," Baire said.

"They are going to take their seven opportunities to swing the bat and they are going to take full advantage of them."

The Blue Dons responded with another five-run inning in the bottom of the fifth to give the hosts their biggest advantage of the contest, 10-4, highlighted by a three-run home run to right field by Eloi.

Once again, Toronto refused to concede, scoring three runs in the top of the sixth inning, as Garman connected on a two-run triple. That made the score 10-7 and set up the wild finish in the final inning.

"That was a fun high school baseball game," Toronto head coach Brian Perkins said.

"Our pitchers at the beginning of the game weren't throwing strikes and they got a little lead on us. But, we battled back into the game and our kids kept competing. That gave us a chance to win at the end and that is all we can ask for."

Toronto (15-3) will host Steubenville Catholic Central at 5 p.m. today.

Madonna (15-2) will travel to Bridgeport for a 5 p.m. start today.

The two will be back at it at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Vaccaro Field as they battle for the second year in a row for the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class A title. The Red Knights won last season.

Madonna 10, Toronto 9

Toronto 101 023 2 - 9 9 3

Madonna 050 050 x - 10 8 3

TORONTO (15-3): Porter LP (2IP, 2K, 5BB), Zeigler (3IP, 0K, 2BB), Radvansky (1IP, 3K, 0BB); Ludewig 1B, 2B; Garman 2-1B, 2B, 3B; Radvansky 1B; Cooper HR; Butler HR.

MADONNA (15-2): E. Nogay WP (5IP, 5K, 3BB), Logan Linder (1IP, 0K, 0BB), G. Magnone (1IP, 3K, 0BB) and Comis; Eloi 1B, HR; Pitchok 2-1B; G. Magnone 1B; Comis 1B; E. Nogay 1B; Perna 1B.

Thank you so much to Applebee's, the players and parents, and all that were involved in the Applebee's Breakfast Fundraiser!!!
April 11, 2009
Magnone tosses no-hitter
from: The Herald Star Online
CADIZ - Madonna senior George Magnone tossed a five-inning no-hitter on Saturday in the first game of a doubleheaders sweep of Harrison Central, 11-0 and 13-5, at Sally Buffalo Park. 
   Magnone struck out six and walked two. Chris Eloi had a single, double and two RBI. Anthony Pietranton added two singles and two RBI. Austin Pitchok collected a single and two RBI and Jarred Magnone had a single and RBI. 
   The Blue Dons scored five times in the top of the fourth inning to break open a 4-3 game. Jarred Magnone delivered two singles and two RBI in Madonna's 13-hit attack. Max Nogay added a single, double and RBI, Eloi two singles and an RBI and Chris Perna a single and double.
   Eddie Nogay earned the win. The Blue Dons visit Linsly on Tuesday and Wheeling Central on Thursday.

Game 1
Madonna 11, Harrison Central 0
Madonna 006 05 11 8 1
Harrison Central 000 00 0 0 3
MADONNA: G. Magnone (WP, 6K, 2BB) and Comis; Eloi 1B, 2B, 2RBI; Pietranton 2-1B, 2RBI; Pitchok 1B, 2RBI; J. Magnone 1B, RBI.
HARRISON CENTRAL: (LP, Barker, 2K, 6BB), Reppart (5th, 0K, 0BB) and Blanchard.

Game 2
Madonna 13, Harrison Central 5
Madonna 310 500 4 13 13 4
Harrison Central 102 000 2 - 5 6 5
MADONNA (6-1): E. Nogay (WP, 3K, 3BB), Mendenhall (6th, 3K, 1BB) and Comis; Eloi 2-1B, RBI; M. Nogay 1B, 2B, RBI; J. Magnone 2-1B, 2RBI; Perna 1B, 2B; Pitchok 1B, RBI.
HARRISON CENTRAL (0-7): Edwards (LP, 0K, 4BB) and Reppart (4th, 1K, 0BB) and Coffman; Edwards 2-1B, 2B, 2RBI; Sailor 1B, RBI
Madonna seeks one more check in wins column  
By MIKE MATHISON Sports editor WHEELING — A cheer roared at St. Marys High School on Saturday when the Madonna football faithful heard that Williamstown defeated the four-time defending West Virginia Class A state champion Wheeling Central. As the Blue Dons breathed a huge sigh of relief, an even bigger one was felt on the Yellowjackets’ field. The Maroon Knights’ Josh Smith missed a 22-yard field goal with 15 seconds left in the game in a 14-13 victory by No. 1-ranked Williamstown. “We feel good about the win,” Yellowjackets coach Terry Smith said on Sunday. “We’ve known all along and we found out the hard way that you have to beat Wheeling Central.” Williamstown will meet No. 7 Madonna at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the Class A state championship game at Wheeling Island Stadium. The Blue Dons shut down St. Marys, 27-6, in the other semifinal. “It might have mattered to some people, but it really didn’t matter to me who we played,” said Madonna coach Bob Kramer. “Whoever lost that game, the winner is a very formidable opponent. If someone beats Wheeling Central, that means they are good. “As long as we were going, that’s all that was on my mind. We’ll concentrate on that now.” The Maroon Knights defeated the Yellowjackets in the last three state title contests and topped Madonna in 2004. Moorefield beat Williamstown for the 2003 crown. “It just happens in the past the brackets worked out that we met in Wheeling,” Smith said. “This time they were on our home field. “They played 13 games and only three away games. Of those 13 games they played two on grass.” Both were losses, the other being at Shadyside. Wheeling Central’s other defeat was at Harding Stadium to Big Red. “I’m not sure they deserved to lose yesterday,” said Smith. “It was a hard-fought game. Any advantage you can get — if our kids can sleep an extra hour, or they get on grass and not on turf. “We’ll take anything. You need it against those guys.” Williamstown’s only loss was 37-7 to Grafton, a Class AA state title participant against Magnolia. The Blue Dons are 13-0, for the third time in school history. The other two teams also made it to the championship game. The 1987 squad beat Matewan. Madonna took it to St. Marys early and did not let up. “My coaches did a great job of recognizing what they like to do in certain situations and conveying that to the kids,” Kramer said. “The kids picked up on it really well. When you do those things, you have a great chance to win. “The kids were also very confident. That had a lot to do with it, too. “Offensively, we did what we thought that we could do against them. We put some different formations in for them in the first half. When A.J. (Klein) couldn’t play in the second half, we had to go back to a more conventional scheme. “But, everything worked really well.” Klein hurt his knee late in the first half. His status for Saturday’s game is questionable. Like most teams, the Blue Dons are led by their seniors. “What a great group. They really are great. I hate to lose any of them,” said Kramer. “Dante (Greco) and Sal (Conti) have both been three-year starters and great leaders. “You rely on your seniors for leadership, not just talking about it, but leading by example on the field. These kids do that.” Conti hurt his knee against Toronto and returned to action last week against Pocahontas County. “The way that Sal has worked on his leg so that he could be able to come back and play really set a great example for the rest of the team,” said Kramer. “They do a lot themselves. We want this to be their year. We try to build responsibility in these young men so they can go out and do things. “They have done a great job for this team and this school.” (Mathison can be contacted at
CITY CHAMPS — The Madonna baseball team celebrates a 9-5 win over rival Weir at Bowman Field, Monday. The win over the Red Riders gives Madonna its first Weirton City Championship in years.
-- Mike Mathison

Blue Dons win Weirton City Championship
By MIKE MATHISON, sports editor

POSTED: April 28, 2009



WEIRTON - No one seems to know when the last time the Madonna baseball team won the city championship.

The general consensus is that it was at least 15 years ago.

But, to the Madonna faithful that means nothing now as the Blue Dons scored four times in the top of the seventh inning to beat crosstown rival Weir High, 9-5, Monday to claim the city crown.

"What a swing of emotions for the entire ballgame," said Madonna coach Jeff Baire, whose team entered the contest ranked No. 3 in West Virginia in Class A. "I told Billy (Weir coach Bill Magnone) as I was walking across the infield going into the seventh inning, 'this is what baseball is all about right here.'

"He didn't like the closeness of the game and neither did I.

"Both teams played a great game. I was really proud of the way our guys battled."

The Red Riders (3-13) scored four times in the bottom of the third inning for a 4-1 cushion. Madonna plated one in the fourth and three in the fifth for a 5-4 lead.

Weir retaliated with a run in the bottom of the fifth when Garrett Lemasters singled with two outs and scored a couple of errors later for a 5-5 tie.

Blue Dons No. 9 hitter Eddie Nogay started the top of the seventh inning with a single and Chris Eloi followed with the same. Austin Pitchok's sacrifice bunt moved the runners up 90 feet and No. 3 hitter, senior George Magnone came to the plate.

Red Riders skipper Bill Magnone had a choice to pitch to Magnone or walk him and face cleanup hitter Max Nogay, who earned the win on the mound.

"That was a problem," the coach admitted. "They're both really good hitters and we got them at the wrong time. I didn't want to get to Max because he was killing us. But, then again, George was killing us, too.

"It was, basically, go at whoever was up."

George Magnone ripped the second pitch he saw and it one-hopped the fence for a two-RBI double.

"That was a no-win situation for Billy," said Baire. "Both of those guys (Magnone and Nogay) traditionally hit the ball hard. It's very rare when George or Max don't square the ball up. I probably would have gone about it the same way and showed confidence in my pitcher."

Nogay then was walked and Logan Linder singled to load the sacks.

Lou Comis, who did not have a good at-bat in the fifth inning, followed with a two-RBI single on the first pitch he saw for the four-run inning and cushion.

"We had 9-1-2-3 coming up in the top of the inning and that's where we wanted to be," said Baire. "I took a bunt off with Eddie in the fifth inning and he came through. I told him to remember that and to show me the same confidence I had in him.

"I told him, 'don't let me have more confidence in you than you have in yourself.' He came through and got us started. I think that's all we needed was just that little start, that little spark."

Weir starter Chris Bittinger struck out 10 and walked three.

"I told Chris that he deserved a better fate," said Baire. "He pitched a heck of a ballgame."

"Max threw a great game, too," said coach Magnone. Nogay struck out six and walked three.

"Chris threw very well. It's always been one or two mental mistakes that we have been making. That comes with experience. Our kids never quit. They do fight.

"I give Madonna credit. They played better than we did today."

(Mathison can be contacted at

Madonna 9, Weir 5

Madonna 100 130 4 9 11 2

Weir 004 010 0 5 8 2

MADONNA (14-2): M. Nogay (WP, 6K, 3BB) and Comis; Eloi 1B; Pitchok 2-1B, RBI; M. Nogay 1B, 2B, 2RBI; G. Magnone 1B, 2B, 2RBI; E. Nogay 2-1B; Comis 1B, 2RBI; Linder 1B.

WEIR (3-13): Bittinger (LP, 10K, 3BB) and Lemasters; Lemasters 2-1B, 2RBI; Ford 1B; Rauch 1B, RBI; Perkins 1B, 2B, RBI; Bittinger 1B.

June 11, 2008

Nogay selected first team all-state
By MARK FLECKENSTEIN, special to the Herald-Star

CHARLESTON— Wheeling Central pitcher R.J. Miller came on strong down the stretch, leading his team to its second straight West Virginia Class A baseball championship.

For his efforts, Miller, along with Weirton Madonna sophomore Max Nogay, was named first-team all-state when the West Virginia Sports Writer’s Association released its team Tuesday.

Nogay hit a robust .462 with five home runs and 34 RBI. He also had a .753 slugging percentage, 70 total bases, 12 doubles and a .527 on-base percentage.

Teammate George Magnone, along with the Maroon Knights’ Andrew Richardson and Paden City’s Wes Cosper and Malakai Anderson were named to the second team.Nogay was a special honorable mention selection last year.

Blue Dons 2005 graduate Anthony Gianni was a second team selection in 2004 as a pitcher and 2005 as a utility player.The last time Madonna had a first team selection was 1992 when Jim McCracken made it as an infielder and Jamey Keysor as a pitcher.From 1994 to 2002, the Blue Dons named to the all-state team were either special honorable mention or honorable mention choices.

Magnone hit .430 with 26 RBI, a .538 slugging percentage, a .495 on-base percentage and struck out just six times.

After posting a 7-2 record, a 1.25 ERA and striking out a double-take inducing 133 batters during the regular season, Buffalo sophomore pitcher Jason Lewis earned his second straight first-team selection and captain of the Class A first team all-state squad.

‘‘For a 15-year-old kid, he’s got command of all of his pitches,’’ Bisons coach Jimmy Tribble said. “He can get a kid 3-0 and throw three straight curveballs. That’s a tribute to him. He’s a gutsy kid with some savvy and some intelligence on the mound. He knows how to get you out.’’He was also Buffalo’s best offensive player as his .427 average and team-high eight home runs attest.Joining Lewis from Tribbles state runner-up squad is outfielder Adam Scott. A four-year starter, Scott posted a 6-5 record on the mound and drove in 30-plus runs.

Leading the way with three first-team selections was Notre Dame. Irish catcher Chris Stanton repeated behind the plate after hitting .489 with seven home runs and 25 RBI in 20 games, while second baseman Preston Musgrave also got his second straight first-team nod, this time in the infield, after scoring 37 runs and stealing nine bases.Preston’s little brother Harrison made the team as a sophomore after going 8-3 with 84 strikeouts in 62 innings pitched.East Hardy placed senior pitcher Jacob Bowman and senior utility Jeremiah Bowman on the squad.Jacob went 7-2 with a 116 strikeouts in 57 innings, while Jeremiah hit eight home runs and 10 doubles while batting .490 as a catcher.

Williamstown also placed two on the first team, with infielder Greg Davis (.542, 43 RBIs, 6 3B) and utility Justin Wajda (.476, 40 RBIs) rounding out the schools with more than one selection.Charleston Catholic’s Will Pack (.455, 37 RBIs, 6-2) joins Davis and Preston Musgrave in the first-team infield.Joining Buffalo’s Scott in the outfield are Wirt Countys Adam Brogdon (.471, 41 RBI; 5-2, 2.26 ERA) and Trevor Corns of Man.

Parkersburg Catholic’s Britt West (.522, 7 HR, 21 2B) and Matt Slone of Van (.494; 6-2, 1.86 ERA) fill the final two utility slots on the first team.Williamstown’s Drew Townsend, South Harrisons Travis Gawthrop and Shawn Hibbard of Moorefield are the second-team pitchers, while Buffalo’s Chris Belcher is the second-team catcher.

The second-team infield consists of Gilmer Countys Ethan Szabo and Moorefield’s Tanner Burns.In the outfield are St. Marys Logan Vanderlic and Drew Weis of Fayetteville.Bo Crites of Moorefield, Wirt County’s Michael Davis, Chase Snyder of South Harrison and Matewans Roger Slone fill the second-team utility spots.
Congrats to the Football team on the success thus far and for being the
 WTOV 9 Team of The Week!!!


May 9, 2008
Dons stopped short in Section 1f
By MIKE MATHISON, Sports editor, The Weirton Daily Time

WHEELING — Madonna’s baseball season came down to three innings.

“Pretty much, I think so,” said Blue Dons coach Jeff Baire.

Wheeling Central used two three-run innings to beat the Madonna, 7-4, and win the West Virginia Class A Region 1, Section 1 championship on Saturday at the I-470 Complex.

“We had our chances, we had our opportunities,” said Baire, whose team finished at 17-13. “We had some guys on base again today that we didn’t hit in.

“But, we did a much better job of not striking out, which was our main topic of conversation on our bus ride down here.”

Wheeling Central scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 2-1 win last Tuesday, making the Blue Dons beat the Maroon Knights twice on Saturday to advance. Madonna struck out 15 times in the first game.

“You strike out 15 times, you’re making them make a lot less plays,” said Baire, who is in his second stint at the Blue Dons’ coach. “They only made six plays with their defense in the last game, when we lost 2-1.

“Our goal was to put the ball in play more today, make them make plays on us, instead of us making it easy on them and I think we did that for the most part.

“All-in-all, I’m very happy with where we are.”

Baire’s mantra all season was telling his team it was as good as Wheeling Central.

He kept saying it even after the Maroon Knights beat his Blue Dons by a combined score of 23-6 in the two regular season games.

“I think we closed the gap and I think my players know that the gap is nonexistent anymore,” Baire remarked. “And there will be no more playing these guys with any sense of intimidation.

“It took me three years to get to that point last time. We’re here in one year now.”

Saturday’s game was a microcosm of Madonna’s season.
There was a lot of good stuff and some not-so-good.

“That happens with a young team and I’ve tried to explain that to people through the course of the year,” Baire said. “We have a very talented team, but a very young team. They make young team mistakes.

“That’s going to be my challenge and my coaching staff’s challenge at the beginning of next season to work on that to get that not to happen.

“Going into this year I didn’t know any of the players — I knew names. I didn’t know what they played like, nor did my coaching staff. Now we have an understanding of what we need to do, what we need to work on — hitting in situations, fielding a hard hit ground ball.

“Things we didn’t know at the beginning of the year we do now.”

Madonna, which is losing two seniors (Jeremy Eloi and Dave Thomas) scored a run in the first inning on three straight singles by Austin Pitchok, George Magnone and Lou Comis. The Blue Dons added one in the second after Max Nogay singled, Magnone reached on a fielder’s choice, Comis singled and Eddie Nogay reached on an error.

They got one in the third with A.J. Klein walked, stole second and came in on Thomas’ single and finished their scoring in the fifth when Magnone walked, stole second and scored on Klein’s single.

“We were in the ballgame all the way until the end,” said Baire. “We shot ourself in the foot when we gave up the three-run inning in the fourth and we did it again in the sixth.

“We understand where we are. We understand what we need to correct.

“But, like I said, the most important thing is my guys understand there is no gap. We are on an even playing field with these guys.

“Our guys haven’t felt that way about them in anything for a while. I’m hoping that translates, that they realize if we can do that in baseball, we can do it in basketball and we can do it in football.

“There’s no difference. We have just as good of athletes as they do — only they believe they’re going to win and we hope we are. We’re changing that now and baseball can lead the way. I have no problem with that.”

Wheeling Central coach Jim Wodusky knew his club would be in for a battle on Saturday.

“Jeff does a great job with these young guys,” he said. “When he was there before, he turned a struggling program around and made them a contender. I knew when he got hired this time he was going to make a sudden impact because I know the athletes they have, because I coach football, too.

“I saw the athletes they had. They’re going to be good for a while.”

Madonna held a 3-1 lead entering the bottom of the fourth inning.

The Maroon Knights had the bases juiced thanks to a hit, a Blue Dons error and two walks when Andrew Richardson brought two home with a single.

With one out and two men on in the bottom of the sixth inning, Richardson’s double was the key in the winning cushion.

R. J. Miller finished the Blue Dons in the top of the seventh with a ground out and two strike outs.

He relieved Jack Weishar, who went 1• innings, after he relieved starter Cody Willis, who went the first 4ª innings.

“I didn’t want to leave any doubt,” Wodusky said about bringing in Miller. “I know they have a good hitting team and they’d already seen Weishar one time. I have full confidence in Weishar, but I just didn’t want to leave any doubt.

“I was pretty confident they couldn’t score too many, if any, on R.J. — at least they weren’t going to score four.

“It’s been our plan all year when R.J. starts, Weishar comes in, in relief of him. And, that’s a sudden change for hitters to adjust to.

“All three pitchers today did an outstanding job. They threw strikes. We had a couple of errors, but we were able to bounce back and take advantage of a couple of situations.”

Max Nogay took the loss. He struck out three and walked four.

(Mathison can be contacted at

Maroon Knights 7, Blue Dons 4

Madonna 111 010 0 – 4 11 2
Wheeling Central 100 303 x – 7 10 2

MADONNA (17-13): M. Nogay LP (3K, 4BB) and Comis; Pitchok 3-1B; G. Magnone 2-1B; Comis 2-1B; M. Nogay 1B; Klein 1B; Thomas 1B.

WHEELING CENTRAL: (15-13): Willis (4 2/3, 4K, 1BB), Weishar WP (1 1/3, 2K, 1BB), Miller (7th, 2K, 0BB) and Parsons; Richardson 2B, 1B; Miller 2-1B; Foose 2-1B; Weishar 1B; Ratcliffe 1B; Seabright 1B; Parsons 1B.
Dons, ’Jackets have things in common

WHEELING — Madonna and Williamstown have made it to the West Virginia Class A state title game at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Wheeling Island Stadium, in part, because both were the recipients of missed field goals. The Blue Dons escaped Pocahontas County in a quarterfinal contest, 16-14 with a 28-yard field goal went wide left. The Yellowjackets slipped past four-time state champion Wheeling Central last week, 14-13, when a 22-yard field goal went wide right, not long after an extra point was missed. Both kicks happened so late in the games that both teams would have had one desperation chance to win if either kick had slipped between the uprights. “If you have a good field goal kicker, which both teams do, you feel pretty confident,” said veteran Madonna mentor Bob Kramer. “But, on bad fields like that, anything can happen. That’s the bad part. “The pressure is on the person who has to make the thing.” Things were a little different for the Yellowjackets as they dodged two bullets. “The longer you coach you realize you’ll take a win any way you can get it,” said Williamstown coach Terry Smith, who used two of his three timeouts to try and ice the Maroon Knights’ kicker. “We’ll take it any way we can get it, especially against Central. “I ended up going out on the field (to call the first timeout) because the official couldn’t hear me. I was thinking, ‘hey let’s ice this guy,’ but the officials were 25 yards away. “Usually, there’s a guy right there, but Wheeling Central was close to the end zone. I would have died if he would have thrown a flag on me for going out on the field, but I don’t think he would have done that because you couldn’t hear anything. “I bet I was five feet from him when I was yelling ‘time out, time out.’ Then, he had to look at me to make sure I was the head coach. “I told him I was going to do it again. I said that I had three timeouts and I was going to burn another one here. He was looking for me the second time, so it wasn’t too bad. “I saved one (timeout) just in case. One of the assistants told me, ‘this is it, man, go ahead and burn the other timeout.’ I told him I was going to save it just in case we had a great runback or something. “The other thing I was thinking about is that they were going to fake it. The play before that, they faked the run and threw. “But, they were out of timeouts.” Williamstown had to hold on for dear life after Wheeling Central recovered its onside kick after missing the extra point. Madonna held on when, after a holding penalty was called on a successful fake punt that went for a first down, the Blue Dons turned the ball over to Pocahontas County on a punt. “The best solution right there for the offensive team obviously is to score a touchdown,” said Kramer. “If you are the offense you are hoping to get in that situation. The defense is hoping to keep a team out of that situation.” The Warriors moved the ball from their 44-yard line to Madonna’s 11 on two runs and a pass. They then spiked the ball to set up the field goal. “You’re still dealing with young men,” said Kramer. “Maybe they hadn’t been in that situation before and by looking at their scores, I don’t think they were ever in that situation.” Pocahontas County’s closest wins were 41-34 over Shady Spring and 40-24 at Parkersburg Catholic. “A lot of teams feel good about that situation,” said Kramer. “With our kicker being hurt, it’s not something we want to have to hang our hats on.” Madonna will practice at Harding Stadium this week to get prepared for the turf at Wheeling Island Stadium. “Our practice field is a mess, which is another reason to go over there,” said Kramer. “Big Red is kind enough to let us do that. “Everybody is practicing on turf this week.
April 29, 2008
Riders beat Dons to claim city title
By MIKE MATHISON, Sports editor

WEIRTON — Weir High claimed its sixth straight win and the baseball City Championship on Tuesday at Bowman Field with a 10-0, six inning victory over Madonna.

“They definitely were up for it today,” said first-year Red Riders coach Bill Magnone.

Not too long ago, Weir High was 6-12 and struggling to play good baseball.

“We moved some kids around,” said Magnone, “and we kind of woke up. I wish I had an answer for you why that happened, but I really don’t.

“Our pitchers are starting to throw strikes, our bats are coming around and we’re fielding the ball and that always helps.”

The Red Riders jumped out to a 5-0 lead after two innings and rode the left arm of senior starting pitcher Steve Buffo.

“Buff threw a heck of a ballgame,” said Madonna coach Jeff Baire. “He’s been a standout baseball player for Weir since his freshman year. He has the reputation of a solid player and a quality pitcher.

“We were overmatched and I would have never guessed that going into the game.

“They scored their five runs with two outs. We had two misplayed fly balls and we kicked a couple of ground balls which led to five runs. A couple innings later we did the same thing (Weir scored four in the fifth inning). Tonight was something I didn’t expect. I don’t know where this game came from.

“Sometimes you need that little culture shock. Maybe we’re not as good as we think we are.”

Madonna entered the game at No. 9 in the West Virginia Class A rankings.

“We played intimidated tonight, which is the best way I can explain it,” said Baire. “We can take this game and use it as a learning experience and grow and get better as a baseball team.

“We played them tonight like we played Wheeling Central the two games we played them this year. Young teams show you different things throughout the course of the year and this was a new one. This was something that had not shown me yet.”

Buffo struck out 11 and walked four in throwing a one-hitter. Max Nogay singled for Madonna.

George Magnone took the loss.

Chris Bittinger and Garrett Lemasters each had a double, single and three RBIs for Weir High. Buffo and T.J. Morgan doubled.

“We have a few of the young kids who are contributing for us,” said Magnone. “There’s always people competing to crack the lineup and if someone is not playing well, we’ll look to someone else.”

The Red Riders host Wheeling Park at 4:30 p.m. today and visit Edison on Friday.

“We have a couple of rough ones this week,” said Magnone. “When you start a new thing, it takes time for everybody to get it, so you have to stay patient.”

Which Magnone has done.

“I feel we’re peaking at the right time,” he said.

Madonna had one hit and four errors.

“That’s not a recipe for a win,” said Baire. “I think we had one quality at-bat in the game. That’s unacceptable at this stage of the season. It was a very sloppy, very ugly ballgame.

“We can use this as a rallying point. We played intimidated and had our butts handed to us.

“We cannot play the uniform. We cannot play reputation. We just have to go out and play baseball.”

Madonna (15-9) will host Linsly at 6:30 p.m. today and will take on Toronto at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class A final.

(Mathison can be contacted at

Red Riders 10, Blue Dons 0

Madonna 000 000 – 0 1 4
Weir High 050 041 – 10 9 0

MADONNA (15-9): G. Magnone LP (4K, 2BB), McCune (6th, 0K, 1BB) and Comis; M. Nogay 1B.

WEIR HIGH (12-12): Buffo WP (11K, 4BB) and Lemasters; Buffo 2B; Bittinger 2B, 1B, 3RBI; Nagy 1B; Perkins 1B; Garrett Lemasters 2B, 1B, 3RBI; Morgan 2B; Rauch 1B.

Blue Dons Crack Top 10

April 28, 2008
***The Blue Dons crack the State Top 10***
In the latest state rankings released on Monday,April 28, Madonna was ranked #9! It is the first state poll in which the Dons were ranked this year. Congrats, and keep pushin towards the top!

April 25, 2008
Madonna will play for a title

BRIDGEPORT — Madonna had several goals heading into the 2008 Baseball season.

Coach Jeff Baire’s club reached a second one Saturday afternoon at Perkins Field on the Niekro Diamond. The Blue Dons blanked Paden City, 8-0, in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class A semifinals and will play Toronto Saturday for the banner.

Madonna is now an impressive 15-8 while the Wildcats drop to 17-10.

“We wanted to make it to Vaccaro Field to play for an OVAC championship and we wanted to win the City Championship,” smiled the affable Baire. “Those were two of the goals we felt were attainable and I’m really excited for our guys because they are so young and have so much potential.”

One of Baire’s youngsters is sophomore hurler Max Nogay.

Nogay enjoyed a splendid afternoon throwing six innings of solid baseball along with notching several nice plays in the field. He ended the contest with five strikeouts and a walk before being replaced in the seventh by George Magnone, who struck out the side in relief.

“To have two underclassman throw the way they did for us today is a big plus,” said Baire. “Most of our guys will be with us for a while so this experience hopefully is just a start of what is to come down the line. We are having fun out there.”

Nogay was also having a good day on the other side of the ball cracking a pair of doubles and a single. He was not alone in his efforts as the winners amassed 13 hits on the sunny afternoon.

Madonna scored runs in five straight innings on its way to the finals. Dave Thomas had a deep fly ball to right chasing home Ed Nogay for the game’s first run. Magnone ripped an RBI single in the following inning.

The winners broke the game wide open in the fifth frame scoring three runs via five hits. A.J. Klein, Thomas and Magnone all plated runs with base hits.

“So many guys hit the ball well today and we played such solid defense,” said Baire. “Last week we booted it around a little, but we took two days of practice and worked hard on doing the little things. It paid off today because we looked very good defensively.”

Thomas added an RBI single to go with his sacrifice RBI. Klein ripped a double and single. Anthony Pietranton had an RBI single. Magnone had two singles and a ribbie. Lou Comis coaxed an RBI walk. Austin Pitchok and Jared Magnone had RBI singles. Ed Nogay had a base hit.

Hard throwing left hander, Ryan Thoburn suffered the mound loss. Thoburn had six K’s and seven walks. Malaki Anderson entered in the fifth. He had three strikeouts.

Ricky Wright, Thoburn, Coty Meadows and Wes Cooper all singled for the Wildcats.

Blue Dons 8, Wildcats 0

Paden City 000 000 0 – 0 4 1
Madonna 011 231 x – 8 13 1

PADEN CITY (17-10): Thoburn LP (6K, 7BB) and Anderson (5) and Meadows.

MADONNA (15-8): M. Nogay WP (5K, 1BB), G. Magnone (7th, 3K, 0BB) and Comis.
April 19, 2008
Clarksburg Notre Dame 5, Madonna 0

Charleston Catholic 4, Madonna 9

CLARKSBURG — The Madonna baseball split at the Clarksburg Catholic Tournament, Saturday. The Blue Dons fell to Clarksburg Notre Dame, 5-0, before defeating Charleston Catholic, 9-4.

In the first game, Max Nogay had two base hits and took the loss on the mound. George Magnone and Eddie Nogay contributed singles.

In the win, Magnone fanned six and walked one. At the plate, Chris Eloi led with a single, triple and four RBIs.

Ed Nogay and A.J. Kline each had two hits and an RBI. Louie Comis doubled to drive in a run and Anthony Pietranton had an RBI single, while Jared Magnone tripled and Max Nogay doubled.

The Blue Dons also won at home Friday with a 14-7 win over Parkersburg Catholic.

Ed Nogay earned the win with five strikeouts and three walks.

Max Nogay homered and singled to bat in four runs. Pietranton and George Magnone had two hits and two RBIs, Dave Thomas had a single and two RBIs, Comis doubled and Jared Magnone had an RBI single.

After the busy weekend, Madonna’s mark moved to 11-7.

The Dons play host to Toronto, Monday.

Game 1

Notre Dame 5, Madonna 0

Notre Dame 100 040 0 — 5 5 1
Madonna 000 000 0 — 0 4 0

NOTRE DAME: Musgrave (7K, 5BB), Marinara (0K, 1BB) and Stanton; Musgrave 2B; Stanton 1B, HR, 5RBI; Funk 1B.

MADONNA: M. Nogay lp (7K, 5BB) and Comis; M. Nogay 2-1B; Magnone 1B; E. Nogay 1B.

Game 2

Madonna 9,
Charleston Catholic 4

Charleston 200 010 1 — 4 9 1
Madonna 300 002 4 — 9 10 4

CHARLESTON: Sadd (3K, 5BB), Huxley (4) (0K, 2BB) and Baird; McNoun 1B; Baird 1B, 2B; Goulsby 1B, RBI; Wood 2-1B, 2RBI; Sadd 1B.

MADONNA: (11-7): Magnone (6K, 1BB) and Comis; J. Magnone 3B; M. Nogay 2B; L. Comis 2B, RBI; Anthony Pietranton 1B, RBI; Ed Nogay 2-1B, RBI; A.J. Kline 2-1B, RBI; Chris Eloi 1B, 3B, 4RBI.

April 18, 2008
Madonna 14, Parkersburg Catholic 7

P. Catholic 102 012 0 — 7 7 3
Madonna 000 833 0 — 14 9 6

PARKERSBURG CATHOLIC: Jason Williams lp (0K, 4BB), Brett West (4th) (4K, 2BB) and Sam Walter; Pat Steely 1B; West 2B, 1B, 3RBI; Jason Williams 2-1B, 2RBI; Josh Lowers 1B.

MADONNA: Ed Nogay wp (5K, 3BB) and Louie Comis; Jared Magnone 1B, RBI; George Magnone 2-1B, RBI; Max Nogay 1B, HR, 4RBI; Louie Comis 2B; Anthony Pietranton 2-1B, 2RBI; Dave Thomas 1B, 2RBI.
April 17, 2008
Blue Dons make short work of Bishops

By MIKE MATHISON, sports editor

WEIRTON — A.J. Klein struck out nine and collected three singles as the Madonna baseball team blanked Bishop Donahue, 12-0, Thursday under the lights at Bowman Field.

The Blue Dons take to the road to play in the Clarksburg Catholic Tournament tonight and Saturday.

“One of the things we told them today, this is a team that got beat 6-3 by Wheeling Central and played a close game with John Marshall,” Madonna coach Jeff Baire said. “If we just relax and play our game, like I’ve said before, don’t try to play over what your potential is, what your ability level is, just go out and play our game, we can be one of the better teams in the Valley, definitely, in our class.

“That’s the thing that we have to do. We have to relax, go out and not see a uniform and just play.”

Madonna batted around in the first and third innings.

The big inning was the third, when the hosts totaled eight singles to eventually score seven runs.

The Blue Dons are in third place behind Toronto and Bridgeport in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class A standings. The cutoff date for the tournament is Saturday.

“We really need to focus in on taking approaches at the plate, which we did a good job of tonight,” said Baire. “You have to understand what it is you want to do with the baseball bat in your hands before you ever step in the batters box — pay attention when you’re in the dugout, on the on deck circle.

“What is it that you’re going to do in your second at-bat, your third at-bat? What are you going to learn from your first one? Those are the things we really need to concentrate on more than anything else.

“The number of people we have left on base in scoring position with less than two outs is ridiculous.

“I told them the other day they were definitely going to get a zip code for the number of people we’ve left on base — it’s been a small town —it’s even a borderline city.”

(Mathison can be contacted at

Blue Dons 12, Bishops 0

Bishop Donahue 000 00 – 0 2 4
Madonna 417 0x – 12 12 1

BISHOP DONAHUE (7-11): Groves LP (2K, 3BB) and Whitfield; Smith, 2B, 1B.

MADONNA (9-6): Klein WP (9K, 2BB) and Comis, Eloi (4); Klein 3-1B; J. Magnone 2-1B; M. Nogay 1B; Comis 1B; Pitchok 1B; Pietranton 1B; E. Nogay 1B; Thomas 1B; Fuscardo 1B.

April 8, 2008
There is no quit in Bruins
By ASHLEY NEWMAN, Sports writer; The Weirton Daily Times

WELLSBURG — In a game that seemed to be going the way of Madonna, the Brooke baseball team refused to quit, battling back from an 8-2 deficit in the bottom of the seventh to take a 9-8 victory Tuesday at Brooke High School, in eight innings.

With three outs separating Madonna and a victory, the Bruins got things started in the bottom of the seventh when a fielding error allowed Michael Newton to reach first base. After a single to center by Zac Shaffer, Madonna starting pitcher George Magnone walked John Paull to load the bases with no outs.

The Brooke crowd rose to its feet when another walk cut the deficit to 8-3 and the bases still full. Brooke star hitter Ethan Benham followed with a double to right field, driving in three runs.

Madonna head coach Jeff Baire pulled Magnone in favor of reliever Max Nogay, but the pitching change did little to quell the Brooke offensive storm.

Josh Frankos and David Alward smacked back-to-back RBI doubles to tie the game 8-8 as the home crowd roared its approval of the dramatic come-from-behind act.

Although Nogay was able to get out of the seventh inning without giving up the game-winning run, the tide had clearly turned.

Brooke head coach Ron Ujcich explained that he knew his team was not going to take defeat quietly and without a fight.

“This is a great group of kids and, obviously, they have a lot of fight in them. They had proven it before and I had all of the confidence in the world. I told my assistants that there was never a moment when I doubted that we were going to come back and get the win,” Ujcich said. “It was just a matter of us waking our bats up and getting it done.

“We had some key hits and got the base runners on. We did what we had to do to come back and keep us in the ball game. When you get the big hits when you need them, good things will happen.”

In the bottom of the eighth, Brooke wasted little time in ending the drama. After Paull and Corey Carroll each reached base by being walked, Benham again answered the call for the Bruins, nailing a walk-off RBI double to deep center field to give Brooke the 9-8 victory.

Ujcich complimented Benham on a great start to the season.

“He is hot right now and he is having a great year. We are going to ride it as far as we can. He is seeing the ball really well and swinging the bat really well,” Ujcich said of Benham. “He also has a lot of confidence and that is big in high school baseball.

“This was a heck of a way to win. Personally, I don’t think we should have been in that situation, but the kids never quit and they battled really hard,” he said. “We came on strong late and did what we had to do to get the victory. A win is a win, any way you look at it.”

On the opposite side of the field, Baire and his team had to deal with a crushing defeat.

“This is what happens when you get runners in scoring position and you don’t at least put the bat on the ball to make teams make plays on you. When you do that, you open up the door for situations like this,” Baire explained. “No offense to Brooke, because they played a heck of a ballgame. But, they did their fair share to give that baseball game away early on with the errors that they made to open up the big inning. They basically begged us to 10-run rule them.

“This is what happens when you leave the door open for teams that have heart. They are going to battle back on you.”

With runners at the corners in the top of the fourth inning, a wild pitch by Brooke starting pitcher Chris Fluharty allowed Austin Pitchok to plate the first run of the game.

An RBI single by Dave Thomas was followed by a sacrifice fly by Jared Magnone to make the game 3-0. Nogay then smacked a two-out, three-run home run to deep left field, making the game 6-0.

“We didn’t make the plays behind our pitchers,” Ujcich explained. “In that fourth inning, we had three errors, a couple of walks, and all of a sudden we were in a tough situation. Now it just takes a couple of base hits and you are behind.

“We never got down, though, and that is key with these guys. They have a lot of fight in them and they are doing a great job.”

Brooke, facing a difficult week of games, hopes to use this victory for its confidence.

“This is a huge momentum booster,” Ujcich said. “We have a big week, going against Big Red, Toronto, Magnolia, Parkersburg South, and Indian Creek. Those are all great programs. This is a great way for us to kick off the week and hopefully we can keep it going through the rest of the week.”

Shaffer picked up the win for the Bruins, going one inning and striking out three. Fluharty pitched the initial five innings and struck out five for Brooke.

The Bruins will host Big Red at 4:30 today.

Madonna’s George Magnone had pitched a masterful game until the fateful seventh inning, holding Brooke to just a handful of hits and striking out four.

“He pitched a heck of a ballgame,” Baire said. “Something we just talked about as a coaching staff, though, is that we are not going to give them the opportunity to go after that complete game, as much as they might want to go back out there.”

Baire looks at this loss as a test for his squad.

“The nice thing about baseball is that we don’t only get to play one or two games a week. We get to come back and play four more games this week. So, we are going to practice tomorrow and go back out ready to win.

“This is a learning experience. The key is, what can you take out of a bad game. What can you take out of a challenging experience. It is the guys who deal with failure the best that turn out to be the best baseball players,” he said.

“The teams that can deal with a situation like this are the ones that end up going far. I think that my team has the character and makeup to do that. The next couple of games are going to tell us what this team is made of.”

Madonna will next play at East Liverpool for a scheduled 4:30 p.m. start on Thursday.
(Newman can be contacted at

Bruins 9, Blue Dons 8

Madonna 000 602 00 — 8 5 3
Brooke 000 011 61 — 9 9 4

MADONNA (6-4): G. Magnone (6 innings, 4K, 4BB), M. Nogay LP (1 inning, 0K, 3BB) and Comis; Pietranton 1B; Eloi 1B, RBI; J. Magnone RBI; M. Nogay 2B, HR, 5RBI; G. Magnone 1B.

BROOKE (2-5): Fluharty (5 innings, 4K, 5BB), Buchanon (1 inning, 2K, 2BB), Shaffer WP (1 inning, 3K, 1BB) and McCasland; Benham 2-2B, 4RBI; Frankos 1B, 2B, RBI; Newton 1B, RBI; Alward 2-2B, RBI; Breen RBI; Tennant 1B; Shaffer 1B.
April 3, 2008
Nogay, timely hitting keep Weir at bay in win
By ASHLEY NEWMAN, sports writer; The Weirton Daily Times

WEIRTON — Under a darkened sky at Cove Field on Thursday evening, Weir and Madonna battled in baseball action, adding another chapter to the long-running rivalry.

Madonna (4-2) used a great pitching performance by Max Nogay and timely hitting to take a 6-3 decision over the Red Riders.

Nogay was the winning pitcher, striking out five and walking five on the evening.

The game began on a rocky note for Weir. In the first inning, one hit by Madonna’s Austin Pitchok and several errors by the Weir defense led to three runs for Madonna.

That 3-0 lead stood, as Nogay and Weir starting pitcher Cody Davidson put on a pitching duel.

In the top of the fifth inning, Weir finally got on the board. Steven Buffo led off the inning with a double down the third base line. After stealing third base, Buffo was driven in on a Matt Nagy sacrifice fly, which cut the lead to 3-1.

Madonna responded with a rally in the bottom of the fifth inning. After Eddie Nogay drew a leadoff walk, Dave Thomas moved him over with a sacrifice bunt. Davidson walked Jared Magnone to put runners on first and second with one out.

Madonna’s George Magnone stepped to the plate and nailed an RBI single to center field, stretching the lead to 4-1 with runners on the corners.

A ground ball hit by Max Nogay allowed Jared Magnone to cross the plate and a single by Louie Comis put Madonna up 6-1.

Madonna head coach Jeff Baire was pleased with how his team was able to turn things around after losing a lopsided 14-3 game against Wheeling Central on Wednesday.

“It is amazing because this is entirely different from what was there yesterday, but that is what happens when you have a young team,” Baire explained. “We talked an awful lot about being intimidated by the uniform.

“Today was much better than yesterday, obviously.”

Weir (2-3) head coach Bill Magnone was disgusted with the way his team began the game.

“We are going to have to start fielding the ball. We have not been doing that well this season. I don’t know if that is caused because we haven’t been able to get outside all that often with all of this rain,” Magnone said. “We have been having a lot of mental errors.”

With a five-run cushion, Nogay continued his mastery of the Weir offense.

After a fielding error and a walk to begin the top of the sixth, Nogay forced Cameron Rauch to hit into a double play. Weir’s Joe Sadler then flew out to end the threat.

Magnone was impressed with the pitching performance of Nogay.

“I can’t take anything away from Max Nogay. We are hitting the ball hard, we just aren’t putting things together offensively,” Magnone explained. “But, he pitched a heck of a game.”

Nogay was sent to the mound to begin the seventh, in search of a complete game.

The ace began the seventh as he had ended the sixth, forcing Buffo to ground out and striking out Davidson.

With one out remaining for Nogay to achieve a complete game victory, Nagy smacked a solo homerun into left field. Pat Duke followed with a single to left.

Two consecutive errors by the Madonna defense led to another score for Weir, cutting the once commanding lead to 6-3 with the tying run at the plate.

It was then that Baire decided to pull Nogay and put in Eddie Nogay to finish things off.

“He really wanted the complete game, but he was well over his pitch count as it was. I told him when I went out just before the last inning that I was doing something that I probably won’t do the rest of the year,” Baire said.

“But, he earned the opportunity to get the complete game. We gave him that opportunity.

“His brother came in and closed it up for him.”

Weir’s Mike Salko flied out to center field to end the game.

Madonna will travel to Cameron for a doubleheader at noon on Saturday. Baire said that his squad can use those games as a momentum builder for another showdown against Wheeling Central on Monday.

“We’re ready to beat (Wheeling Central). It is just a matter of us having the confidence and not being intimidated by the maroon and white,” Baire said. “We have to just go out and play our game.

“Today was an example of what happens when you go out and play fundamental baseball. We talked a lot about not trying to do more than what your capabilities are and just playing to your capability level. That is what we did today.”

Magnone expects his team to get back to its winnings ways, after dropping the last three games.

“We are going to turn it around. I have confidence that we will,” Magnone said. “Even though Cody Davidson did well today, our pitchers need to start throwing more strikes. We want to work ahead in counts.

“The walks and the errors really add up.”

Davidson, the losing pitcher, struck out five and walked three in 42/3 innings for Weir.

“We just need to right the ship.”

Weir will get an opportunity to do that, as it will travel to Cambridge for a doubleheader at noon on Saturday.
(Newman can be contacted at

Blue Dons 6, Red Riders 3

Weir 000 010 2 — 3 5 6
Madonna 300 030 x — 6 4 4

WEIR (2-3): Davidson (4 2/3 innings, 5K, 3BB), Bittinger (3K, 2BB) and Salko; Buffo 2B; Nagy 1B, HR, 2RBI; Duke 1B, 2B; Rouch 1B.

MADONNA (4-2): M. Nogay WP (6 2/3 innings, 5K, 5BB), E. Nogay (0K, 0BB) and Comis; G. Magnone 1B, RBI; Nogay RBI; Comis 1B, RBI; Pitchok 2-1B, 2RBI.

April 2, 2008
Blue Dons struggle to find their offense
By MIKE MATHISON, Sports editor; The Weirton Daily Times

WEIRTON —That wasn’t the team Madonna baseball coach Jeff Baire has been around.

“We did things out there today I have not seen, even in the first week of practice,” he said after Wednesday’s 14-3, five-inning loss to Wheeling Central at Bowman Field. “It was not good.

“Believe me, that was not indicative of how we played over the first four games of the year.

“Hopefully we won’t play that team the same way on Monday and definitely not at the end of the year.”

The Maroon Knights jumped on Madonna starter George Magnone for four runs in the top of the first inning and the visitors never looked back.

“When you’ve lost to a team for as long as we’ve lost to these guys, sometimes that takes a little bit of time,” Baire said about losing to Wheeling Central. “It’s something I experienced the first time I was here. Sometimes it takes a little bit to get over that hurdle.

“I think we’re going to get over it a lot quicker this time than what it was the first time I was here.

“You could definitely see that was a big part of the problem today. We came out tight.

“You start to get a little bit of respect. People start to notice that you’re doing something that’s positive — something that you’re not used to doing — and then you put expectations on yourself sometimes that are unrealistic.

“Instead of coming out and having fun, stepping between the lines and just playing the game, you put so much pressure on yourself that you can’t perform at your normal level.”

Eddie Nogay had half of Madonna’s hits with two singles.

(Mathison can be contacted at

Maroon Knights 14, Blue Dons 3

Wheeling 415 13 – 14 10 1
Madonna 002 01 – 3 4 3

WHEELING CENTRAL: Edwards (WP, 12K, 5BB) and Parsons; Henry 2B, 2RS; Richardson 2-2B; Edwards 1B, 3RD; Miller 2-1B; Weisher 1B; Ratcliffe 1B.

MADONNA (3-2): G. Magnone (LP, 3K, 4BB), Klein (3rd, 0K, 2BB) and Comis, Longhi (5); E. Nogay 2-1B; M. Nogay 1B; Pietranton 1B.

April 1, 2008
Blue Dons stumble against Shadyside
From staff reports; The Weirton Daily Times

SHADYSIDE — The Madonna baseball team dropped its first game of the year, 8-5, Tuesday at Shadyside.

“We played a good game, I was happy with it,” said Blue Dons coach Jeff Baire. “We were down 4-1 and battled back. There were a lot of positives.”

Austin Pitchok took the loss, striking out one and walking three in two innings of work. Anthony Pietranton finished the game, fanning five and walking two in four innings.

Pietranton and Max Nogay each had a pair of RBIs and George Magnone added a double and single for the Blue Dons.

Madonna is back in action at 6:30 p.m. today at Bowman Field against Wheeling Central.

Tigers 8, Blue Dons 5

Madonna 100 220 0 – 5 8 2

Shadyside 310 112 x – 8 11 3

MADONNA (3-1): Pitchok (LP, 2 innings, 1K, 3BB), Pietranton (3rd, 5K, 2BB) and Comis; J. Magnone 1B; G. Magnone 2B, 1B; M. Nogay 2B, 2RBI; Comis 1B; Pietranton 2-1B, 2RBI; Thomas 1B, RBI.

SHADYSIDE: Butts (WP, 7K, 4BB) and Kubancik; Holloway 2-1B; Palicka 1B, 3B, RBI; O’Donnell 2-1B, RBI; Butts 2-1B, RBI.

March 29, 2008
Blue Dons sweep baseball doubleheader from Wildcats
From staff reports; The Weirton Daily Times

WEIRTON — The Madonna baseball team scored four times in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday to beat Paden City, 8-7, in the first game of a doublehader. The Blue Dons completed the sweep with a five-inning, 11-1, victory in the second outing.

Mark Thomas drove home the winning run at Ed Bowman Field with a sacrifice fly.

Madonna held a 4-1 lead after four innings, but the Wildcats plated six runs to take a 7-4 advantage into the final three outs.

Max Nogay smacked a home run and a single while catcher Lou Comis collected three singles.

Jared Magnone added a single and two RBIs. George Magnone, who started on the mound, had a double and single.

In the second game, Madonna scored three runs in each of the first three innings for its third win in as many starts.

Max Nogay had three singles and three RBIs. Comis added a double, single and three RBIs and George Magnone two doubles, a single and an RBI. Austin Pitchok had two singles and two RBIs.

Nogay and Pat McCune combined in a three-hitter to win the second game.

Game One

Blue Dons 8, Wildcats 7

Paden City 000 106 0 - 7 9 4

Madonna 002 110 4 - 8 8 3

PADEN?CITY:?Bennett (1K, 2BB), Cosper (LP, 4th, 2K, 0BB)?and Meadows.

MADONNA:?G. Magnone (7K, 2BB), E. Nogay (5th, 1K, 1BB), Pitchok (WP, 6th, 1K, 1BB) and Comis. G. Magnone 2B, 1B; M. Nogay HR, 1B, RBI; Comis 3-1B; Pitchok RBI; J. Magnone 1B, 2RBI; Thomas RBI.

Game Two

Blue Dons 11, Wildcats 1

Paden City 001 00 - 1 2 5

Madonna 333 11 - 11 13 1

PADEN?CITY:?Heasley (LP, 3K, 7BB) and Loy.

MADONNA:?M. Nogay (WP, 2K, 3BB), McCune (4th, 3K, 0BB)?and Comis. M. Nogay 3-1B, 3RBI; G. Magnone 2-2B, 1B, RBI; Comis 2B, 1B, 3RBI; Pitchok 2-1B, 2RBI; McCune 1B.
March 24, 2008
Madonna shuts down Linsly, 4-0
From staff reports; The Weirton Daily Times

WHEELING — The Madonna baseball team opened 2008 with a roar, shutting out Linsly, 4-0, in Cadet Country, Monday.
The Blue Dons used three pitchers in the victory. The hurlers combined for 13 strikeouts, no walks and one hit. George Magnone pitched the first four innings, earning the win. He fanned eight.

Max Nogay took over in the fifth. He had a trio of strikeouts. Ed Nogay closed, and in his one inning pitched, registered two strikeouts.
Max Nogay led at the plate with two base hits, a double and three RBIs. Jared Magnone, Ed Nogay and Austin Pitchok each had a single, while catcher Lou Comis drove in a run.

Madonna is 1-0 and returns to action at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Oak Glen.

Blue Dons 4, Cadets 0

Madonnna 101 200 0 - 4 6 2

Linsly 000 000 0 - 0 1 0

MADONNA (1-0): George Magnone WP (8K, 0BB), Max Nogay (5th, 3K, 0BB), Ed Nogay (7th, 2K, 0BB) and Lou Comis; M. Nogay 2-1B; 2B, 3RBI; Comis RBI; Jared Magnone 1B; E. Nogay 1B; Austin Pitchok 1B.

LINSLY (0-1): Cecil LP (9K, 5BB), Kozusko (5) (6K, 4BB) and Kozusko; Milton.
***The article below, along with the picture, is of my High School Coach. "The smart man takes from what works and uses it to his advantage." Looking at the results of our season, this isn't a bad philosophy to use.

Baseball: Lakewood's Thorp earns 800th victory
Winning run delivered on sixth-inning error
By KURT SNYDER;Sports Writer

HEBRON -- Everybody associated with the Lakewood baseball program knew the significance of Friday's victory.

But in the minutes after a dramatic 6-5 win against visiting Grandview Heights, the Lancers, and specifically coach Don Thorp, had better things to do than celebrate.

A throwing error allowed pinch-runner Jordon Gray to score in the sixth and final inning to give Thorp the 800th victory in his legendary career, but the rain, which shortened the game, steadily was doing damage to the field.

The Lancers have a doubleheader scheduled against Utica at 11 a.m. today at home.
"He is just going to be himself," said junior Ryan Davis, who beat the high throw to first.

After tarps had been placed on home plate and the pitcher's mound and the areas around the bases had been raked, Thorp reluctantly took a break to reflect with his players.

Thorp, whose career record is now 800-205-3, never has been one for the spotlight, not even after his program's third state championship in 2005 or the victory that made him the winningest coach in Ohio high school history the next year.

"I would probably trade a lot of (the wins) for a much better season than I am having right now, but over the course of time, it will mean an awful lot," he said. Thorp thanked the coaches who have been with him over his 35-year career -- "Just to name a few, Dave Parkhill would have to be right at the top of the list. Mike Mohler, Andy Bowman, goodness gracious, I am going to leave some people out. I don't want to do that."

He thanked his family -- "I credit my wife for letting me do it. No family probably in Ohio has been neglected more than mine." He thanked the 500 and some players over the years -- one of his current players did the math.

"Those coaches and those players, their names should all be on (the plaque)," Thorp said. "I had I think two of them's grandpas. I have had a lot of uncles and fathers. I call them by the wrong name all of the time, as they will tell you."

For a group of players, many of whom have been thrown into varsity action before Thorp desired and have struggled to a 10-15 record, it was the chance to be a part of the Lakewood tradition.

"It is nice to say that we were the ones out here to give him 800," junior Marc Wylie said. "We would like to give him a lot more. ... Growing up, that is all you hear about -- Don Thorp and Lakewood baseball. It is tough to make it here, but once you do, you become a family."

It was not too long before it was back to work. The Lancers have two more games to attempt to win today, but Thorp admitted to letting this one sink in.

"I never took enough time to enjoy them because I was always getting ready for the next one," he said. "With a year like we are having this year where wins are hard to come by, I realize I didn't take enough time to enjoy them, some of the special moments and special teams.

"Maybe we will be there again."

Kurt Snyder can be reached at (740) 328-8556 or


Paint the town blue!

Dons win state championship by downing Man

By RALPH COX, Sports correspondent

WHEELING — Madonna won the 2009 West Virginia Class A state championship Saturday night scoring the first 27 points to roll over second-seeded Man, 27-7, at Wheeling Island Stadium. The Blue Dons established a school record for wins topping the 13 that the 1987 Madonna team won while winning the school’s only other state football title. It was Madonna’s second straight trip to the championship game. The Blue Dons had a couple of key injuries to quarterbacks last year wound up losing to Williamstown 23-7. Madonna also got to the championship game in 2004 only to lose to Wheeling Central 34-7. Madonna let it be known early that this trip to Wheeling Island Stadium was going to be different. A 70-yard punt return for a touchdown by Connor Arlia the first time the Blue Dons had possession of the ball put the Blue Dons ahead for good. “That was huge,” said Madonna coach Bob Kramer, who won his first championship in three trips to the big game in the 12 years he has been at the helm. “It was great to put points on the board early so we could get Man out of their running game. We wanted to force them to pass, which is not what they want to do.”

After squandering a golden opportunity to score with a fumble late in the first quarter, the Blue Dons came right back to score twice in the second period, which all but put the game away. Madonna took a 20-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. “It is an overwhelming feeling to win a state championship,” Kramer said. “When I took this job 12 years ago, winning a state title was the furthest thing from my mind. I couldn’t even dream this would happen.” The Blue Dons won the game just like they did in the other 13 victories this season, with a staunch defense and by being opportunistic with big plays on offense. The Hillbillies, which got to Wheeling Island by running the football, were held to a net of 70 yards on the ground. The bulk of Man’s 197 yards of total offense came with nine pass completions for 127 yards. Meanwhile, the Blue Dons posted 307 yards of offense with an even mixture of 151 on the ground and 156 through the air. Senior Max Nogay, who has been the key to the Blue Don offense all year, threw two touchdown passes and ran for another to lead the way. He accounted for a total of 164 yards in the game. “This is such a great group of kids,” Kramer remarked. “I can remember when one of our seniors was a freshman he told me that when this group became seniors they would win the state championship. I’m just pleased to be their coach. When you have a bunch of hardworking kids that spend hours on the practice field, in the weight room and studying film, it makes coaching easy.” Man’s Corey Earnest boomed a 60-yard punt from his own 31 all the way to the Blue Don 9. Madonna worked the ball to the 35-yard line where A. J. Klein, who returned to contact action last week after sitting out six weeks with a broken collar bone, took a pitch and raced 62 yards to the Man 3. On the first play from there, Nogay appeared to be going in for a touchdown with a blast over right guard, but the ball popped loose before he reached the goal line and a Man defender recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchback. “We squandered a couple of scoring opportunities in the game with turnovers and that was a big one,” said Kramer. Madonna lost two other fumbles and Nogay was intercepted once, but the Blue Don defense countered that with three takeaways, two interceptions and a fumble recovery. The Blue Don defense held Man to three-and-out forcing another Earnest punt. This time he shanked it off the side of his foot covering just 14 yards before going out of bounds. That set up Madonna’s second touchdown early in the second quarter. They worked the ball to the Hillbilly 28. Faced with a fourth down and 14 situation, Nogay dropped back to pass and found senior Jimmy Deter prancing wide open down the middle of the field. Deter caught the ball in the end zone and then kicked the extra point giving the Blue Dons a 14-0 lead. Another Earnest bad punt just before halftime set up a third Madonna score. The kick went out of bounds at midfield and Nogay quickly spotted Deter open again down the middle with a 31-yard pass and run operation to the Man 14. Arlia caught a pass for three yards to the 11 on first down. With time running out, Nogay took the ball up the middle picking his way through Man defenders and refusing to be denied till he reached paydirt. Deter’s kick missed, but the Blue Dons went ahead 20-0.

The Hillbillies played the Blue Dons even in the second half with both teams scoring a touchdown. “A couple of the kids had slight injuries in the first half, but I urged them during the break to suck it up and give me 24 more minutes,” Kramer explained. “Our defense has a lot of pride so they were disappointed when Man scored, but all I wanted to do was keep the clock running. We probably could have passed more in the second half and maybe got into the end zone a time or two, but I wanted to use up as much clock as possible.” The Hillbillies scored on a first down pass from senior quarterback, Ryan Crum, who uncharacteristically threw the ball 27 times in the game. Evan Riggins went high in the air to pick off the pass over Deter in the end zone. It was just the 45th point scored against the Blue Dons in 14 games. Before that score, though, the Blue Dons had put the game away with a pretty 30-yard pass to Arlia. Arlia took the pass in full stride in the back of the end zone. Deter added the extra point. “I’m just happy for the Madonna family, the administration, students, faculty and supporters,” Kramer said. “I don’t want to forget about the parents of the players, either because it takes a whole community to be successful and I appreciate all the support they give us. “I hope that this win gives hope to the schools with smaller enrollments.”

Madonna 27, Man 7 Man 0 0 0 7 – 7 Madonna 7 13 0 7 – 27

Mad: Arlia 70 punt return (Deter kick), 10:19 Mad: Deter 28 pass from M. Nogay (Deter kick), 8:55 Mad: Nogay 10 run (kick failed), :21 Mad: Arlia 30 pass from Nogay (Deter kick), 11:46 Man: Riggins 13 pass from Crum (Earnest kick), 5:31 Rushing: Man, 29-70, Andrew Hale 9-26, Brandon Plymale 6-26, Ryan Crum 8-11, Cody Owens 1-6, Michael Lomax 5-1. Madonna, 41-151, Louis Comis 10-59, A. J. Klein 9-57, Connor Arlia 6-17, Jimmy Deter 7-10, Max Nogay 9-8. Passing: Man 9-27-2 (all by Crum); Madonna 10-14-1 (all by Nogay) Receiving: Man, Evan Riggins 4-50, Owens 2-51, Jeremy Hatfield 2-24, Derrick Earnest 1-2; Madonna, Arlia 5-65, Deter 2-59, Christ Perna 1-16, Eddie Nogay 1-12, Comis 1-4. Fumbles-lost: Man, 2-1; Madonna 3-3 First downs: Man, 7; Madonna, 10



Nogay is captain of Class A defense

By SHAWN RINE, special to the Herald-Star

WHEELING — When asked to pick the most valuable player on a defense that allowed 3.1 points per game and pitched seven shutouts this season, Weirton Madonna coach Bob Kramer said simply he couldn’t. The West Virginia Sports Writers Association felt the same way. Weirton Madonna captured the school’s first Class A football championship since 1987, and did so behind a punishing unit that did not permit a single opponent to put more than eight points on the scoreboard. For that effort, linebackers Connor Arlia and Louie Comis, and defensive back Max Nogay were named first-team all-staters when the WVSWA’s team was released. ‘‘We had a really good team, and I don’t mind telling people that now that the season is over,’’ Kramer said. ‘‘You can’t say that we had a weakness here or there. ‘‘No matter which side you run to, or if you run it up the middle, we had more than one person there.’’ Nogay, who doubles as the Blue Dons’ quarterback and was the team’s MVP in a 27-7 championship game victory against Man, was named captain of the first-team defense for his play at safety. A senior who is also a state champion wrestler and a standout on the baseball team, he recorded 40 tackles to go along with four interceptions and four fumble recoveries for a club that set a school record with its 14 victories. Offensively he had 2,207 total yards and 33 scores ‘‘He hits like a linebacker when he comes up and fills holes,’’ Kramer said. ‘‘He wants to be the best at whatever he does and he succeeds most of the time. Max, to me, he is first team on both sides of the ball.’’

Comis, a 6-foot, 210-pound linebacker makes his second appearance on the first team. This season he recorded 61 tackles (15 for losses), three sacks, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He also was a bruiser of a fullback, gaining 813 yards and scoring 18 touchdowns. ‘‘Louie is the heart of our defense,’’ Kramer said. ‘‘He reads the other team’s offensive sets and makes sure our kids are always in the right position. He can read so well he can almost call out the play before it’s run.’’ Arlia, the lone junior of the group, put in considerable time in the weight room during the offseason. He’s headed to San Antonio on Jan. 8 for the U.S. Army National Combine and is receiving college interest from Notre Dame, among others. Another linebacker, Arlia (5-10, 190) made 66 tackles (17 for loss), registered two sacks, three forced fumbles, four recoveries and picked off five passes, one of which went back for a touchdown. Offensively he had 1,150 yards and 15 TDs. ‘‘He’s very intelligent, and 99 percent of the time he’s where he needs to be,’’ Kramer said. ‘‘He tackles well, reads well and covers well.’’ Joining those three as Madonna first-teamers is offensive lineman, senior Nick Nero (6-0, 230), who paved the way for an offense that averaged more than 39 points per game. Defensively, he was the team’s leading tackler with 76 stops (22.5 for loss), four sacks, two forced fumbles, two recoveries and a blocked punt. ‘‘What a super job he did for us,’’ Kramer said. ‘‘He blocked so well and was our leading tackler on defense, and that’s saying something with the defense we had. ‘‘In the championship game he sprained his ankle on the first defensive series and still went out and gave a gutsy performance.’’ Wirt County’s Jake Hutchinson is the first-team quarterback, completing 109 of 206 for 1,903 yards and 30 touchdowns during the regular season. He’s joined in the backfield by runners Marcus Clifford of Wheeling Central (158 carries, 1,262 yards, 17 touchdowns), Jordan Hockenberry of Clay-Battelle and offensive captain Dustin Brown of Richwood (166-2,001-27). Tyler Dunigon (6-0, 247, senior) of runner-up Man is up front, along with Nero, Williamstown’s David Huggins, Fayetteville’s Chase Lafferty and Parkersburg Catholic’s Sam Walters. The receivers are Wirt County sophomore Dalton Brindo, who had 44 catches for 813 yards and 17 touchdowns, and Clarksburg Notre Dame’s Alec Marinaro (36-950-11td). Offensive utility spots went to Wheeling Central’s Zack Hood, who rang up 2,461 yards of offense and 21 touchdowns, Tucker County’s Brendan Miller (3,086 total yards, 39 TDS) and Richwood junior Sam Tindal (2,661 total yards, 30 TDs). Man senior Derrick Earnest is the team’s kicker. Williamstown’s Cody Matheny (119 tackles, 10 for loss and six sacks), Wheeling Central’s Jordan West (70 tackles, three sacks) and Man’s Zack Underwood provide the beef up front on the defensive line. Joining Comis and Arlia at linebacker are Moorefield’s Trevor Sites and Parkersburg Catholic’s Jacob Brunoni (124 tackles, two interceptions). Zach Cheuvront of Wirt County, Mike Shaw of Notre Dame and Fayetteville’s Drew Weis flank Nogay at defensive back. Wheeling Central’s Jordan Sorge, who had 30 tackles and a team-leading five interceptions to go along with 1,018 total yards and 15 touchdowns holds down one of the defensive utility positions. The other belongs to Williamstown senior Joe Palm (1,440 yards rushing, 17 TDs, as well as 87 tackles, 10 for a loss, and a 34.8-yard punting average). Speaking of punters, the first-teamer is Pocahontas County junior Evan Rose. The second-team quarterback is Notre Dame’s Nolan Tucci, while the backs are captain Brandon Plymale (1,047 yards, 12 TDs entering title game) of Man, and Wahama’s Machiah Branch. The linemen are Grant Weaver (Madonna), Christian Cottrell (Calhoun County), Manny Gibson (Man), Robert Moore (South Harrison) and Richwood’s Stevie Mullins. Parkersburg Catholic’s Cole Cwynar and Bishop Donahue’s Ryan Jones (31 catches, 581 yards, nine TDs) are the receivers, while utility spots went to Paden City’s Malakai Anderson (1,682 total yards, 16 scores), South Harrison’s Tanner Belt and Calhoun County’s Randy Fluharty. The second-team kicker is MichaelAngelo Hernandez of Fayetteville. Across the defensive front are Mount Hope’s Eric Canaday, Buffalo’s Cameron Jones, Richwood’s Jacob Jones, and Derek O’Dell of Midland Trail. Linebacker positions are filled by Williamstown’s Aaron Jones, captain Bradley Kelly, who led Iaeger to an 8-2 mark and a playoff berth in the school’s final year of existence, Tucker County’s Daniel Parsons, Jay Riffle of Clay-Battelle, and Jack Simms of Valley-Fayette. Tyler Gardiner (Pendleton County), Justin Rosier (Trinity), and Jason Williams (Parkersburg Catholic) are the DBs, while Clay-Battelle’s Nick Bragg and Valley-Fayette’s Marcus White hold down the utility positions. Valley-Wetzel’s Cody Scott is the punter.

Nogay siblings teaming for the same goal
By Josh Strope
WEIRTON - Wrestling coach Mike Nogay has left quite a legacy on the Weirton Madonna athletics program.

While successful in his own right, his biggest contribution to the school has been his children.

Triplets Eddie, Jen, and Max have been solid players and students during their four seasons with the Blue Dons.

Eddie and Max, who will be starting in Saturday's West Virginia Class A championship game against Man at Wheeling Island Stadium, have grown leaps and bounds since their freshmen seasons under the tutelage of Bob Kramer.

They are also standouts on the wrestling and baseball teams.

Jen is a three-sport star in her own right, putting up solid numbers in soccer, basketball, and softball.

While Jen is preparing for basketball season, which starts Tuesday at Bishop Donahue, her brothers are set to make up for last season's defeat in what is going to be the biggest football game of their lives.

''We've been excited because of what happened last year around this time,'' Max said. ''We feel we have some unfinished business. We are prepared to go in there and do what needs to be done.

''I'm thankful I'm healthy and most of my team is. We are healthy and we are real excited.

''It means a lot to us and it's a big goal for us to bring a title back to the high school and community.''

Max, this season's quarterback, was limited during the 2008 title game against Williamstown because of a cast on his hand, the result of a broken wrist. He played on defense and made 14 tackles.

This season, Max is making his name one that will go down in Weirton Madonna lore.

Max has rushed for 1,087 yards and 22 scores in his senior campaign. In his last four games (regular-season finale at then-unbeaten Clay-Battelle and in the playoffs against Gilbert, Tucker County and Wheeling Central), the 5-foot-11, 180-pound signalcaller has carried the ball 80 times for 674 yards and 11 touchdowns.

''Everybody seems to be focusing on Max because he has so much ability,'' Kramer said. ''He is surrounded by a great supporting cast and each one in their own right has done their job. They do things for whoever is carrying the ball but when Max is in there, they feel real confident in their jobs.''

And football might be his worst sport.

The youngest of the Nogay siblings, born 4 minutes after Eddie and 2 after Jen, is a state wrestling champion, and during the baseball playoffs last season hit three home runs against Williamstown to put the Blue Dons in the state tournament. He's hoping to play baseball in college, looking at West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Duquesne as possible destinations.

''It's been a great experience,'' Eddie said. of playing with Max in three different sports. ''He's my younger brother, but not my little brother. It's a sibling rivalry. We excel together in athletics and I'm glad he's on our team.''

Max may get most of the attention, but Eddie is far from a slouch.

The 5-11, 150-pound wideout has nine catches this season for 167 yards and two touchdowns.

That's right, when Max is looking to throw the ball, he has a speedy target that he has been working with since they were kids. It's a chemistry that has made this quite a pairing.

On the first play from scrimmage this season, the dynamic duo connected for a 44-yard touchdown pass against Paden City.

''I ran a deep fly pattern for a touchdown,'' Eddie said. ''We are on our own little page out there.''

And of course, there is always going to be a sibling rivalry.

''If I can get an interception one game or he throws a touchdown one game, we always try to one-up each other,'' Eddie said. ''See who can make the bigger play. But the best is when we both join forces together to make a big play, that's when it's most exciting.''

Max added: ''It's a love and hate thing. I love having him out there. I hate when he gets hit. Sometimes we get in arguments, but at the end of the day we just laugh about it.''

Bouncing Back
Madonna's Klein Back in the lineup
By Josh Strope
WEIRTON - When Weirton Madonna tailback A.J. Klein went down in Week 6 against Clarksburg Notre Dame with a broken collarbone, the thought around those familiar with the program was ''here we go again.''

The dark cloud that seemingly hung over Bob Kramer's program was at it again. Injuries to Jake Myers in 2004 and Klein and Max Nogay last season played a huge part in the the team's failure to win the West Virginia Class A title game.

Now here was Klein, having a magnificent bounce-back season in which he was the fourth-leading rusher among Ohio Valley small schools with 596 yards and seven rushing touchdowns (11 total), and down he goes again.

''Bummer,'' Klein said.

With the leadership of guys like Nogay and Lou Comis, and one of the best coaching staffs in the valley, Weirton Madonna didn't miss a beat, finishing the season undefeated and earning a shot in the Class A championship game Saturday at Wheeling Island Stadium.

And if that wasn't enough to get excited about, guess who's back?

''Hopefully I get to play a good bit of the game,'' Klein said. ''It's been some bad luck but I just keep working hard.''

Doctors have cleared Klein to play against Man as he gets the chance to compete in the game that eluded him last season.

For Klein, it's been back luck after bad luck.

A broken hand sidelined him his sophomore season. Last season in a semifinal game against St. Marys, while blocking on a punt return, his knee was run into, tearing the MCL.

This season against the Fighting Irish, it was a routine play. A player pushed him out of bounds and he landed on his collarbone.

''It hurt pretty bad,'' he said.

Doctors told Klein that he could have taken the same hit 100 times and landed the same way. All it took was one time to land perfectly on it.

His season was seemingly over ... again.

''I didn't think (I would be able to play again),'' Klein said. ''It was a lot of pain, way worse than my knee. Collarbone is slow. It just won't heal, but it's healed good enough where I will be able to go. Doctor said I could.''

Klein has dressed the past few weeks and has seen time punting. In last week's semifinal victory, he even got a carry on a crucial fourth down against Wheeling Central.

Even though he was stopped for a loss on the play, it showed Klein could still take a hit.

''I haven't had any worries, just trying not to think about it too much,'' Klein said.

His collarbone is still wrapped and he has to be careful, but there should be no lingering problems. It isn't 100 percent healthy and because he's been out of the game plan for so long, he may only get a few carries.

His backup, Jimmy Deter, has filled in nicely, rushing for 857 yards and six scores. Nogay has also taken on more of the load.

''We are hoping to get A.J. a little more involved this week,'' Kramer said. ''He's starting to work his way back into things, and he's healed to play. How much he'll play is undetermined.''

But just getting on that field will be more than enough for Klein. It will bring his career to a close, full-circle as he tries to help the Blue Dons capture their first title since 1987.

''It's going to be amazing, especially to play on turf,'' the speedback said.

An Island adventure
One more business trip for Dons after 18-7 win over Knights

By Mike Mathison, Sports Editor
WEIRTON — It came down to one play. For all the big plays the Madonna football team made through the first 12 weeks of games, the chance of playing in the 14th contest came down to a simple fourth-and-1 from Wheeling Central’s 17-yard line. Although, it wasn’t so simple with 2:28 left in the game, clinging to a 12-7 lead. “We’ve had a few of those this year, but none that important,” said Blue Dons coach Bob Kramer. “Max (Nogay) said he wanted the ball. When somebody says they want the ball and the kids say ‘we’ll get it for him’ you have to go with the kids. “They’re the ones who are out there busting their butts doing the job. Whatever they felt confident in that’s what you have to go with.” Nogay picked up that yard and, 74 seconds later, scored from the 1 as the Blue Dons defeated the Maroon Knights, 18-7, Friday night at Jimmy Carey Stadium in the West Virginia Class A semifinals. That gives Madonna a 13-0 record and the chance for that elusive perfect season one week from tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Wheeling Island Stadium in the state title tilt. The Blue Dons will play the winner of tonight’s game between Richwood and Man. “Every big game comes down to one play,” said Max Nogay. “Our offensive line played a magnificent game.” Wheeling Central, down 12-7 and with all of the momentum, held the hosts to a three-and-out after Zach Hood teamed up with Jordan Sorge on a 45-yard touchdown pass to pull to within 12-7 with 10:52 left in the game. But, Sorge muffed the punt and Madonna was in business. The Blue Dons were given a gift and didn’t open it. Three minutes later A.J. Klein was stopped on a fourth-and-5 from the 13 and the visitors took over. After holding Wheeling Central, Madonna got the ball back with 5:20 left in the game on its 44-yard line. A few plays later the Blue Dons were handed another gift when, on third down, Jimmy Deter watched a pitch hit the ground and, after a perfect bounce, gobbled it up to retain possession. But, as he was ridden out of bounce, the Wheeling Central defender was flagged for a face mask penalty and Madonna was about to open the second gift — a re-gift, if you will. “I just had to get on the pitch and salvage the play as best I could,” said Deter. “My eyes got huge. As soon as the ball was rolling I knew I had to get on it or something bad was going to happen. I was lucky enough to get the bounce that we needed and lucky enough to get the penalty on the sideline to keep the drive moving. “The fourth-and-1 was the play of the game. I told the linemen that we’ve been practicing for four months and all we need is one inch. That’s all we needed and they did a great job. The line won us this game tonight — the line and Max Nogay.” Madonna’s mantra all year long has been the old cliche — one game at a time. That wasn’t easy this week knowing it was nemesis Wheeling Central with a state title berth on the line. “It was very hard trying to treat this as just another game,” said Lou Comis. “This is a huge rivalry. We’ve played these guys since grade school. We knew it was going to be a tough game. I’m just so happy. This is awesome. “It was a team effort.” “We prepared for it as just another game,” said Grant Weaver. “Coach Kramer told us it was just another team and this is just another game. We prepared for them as best as we could and this was the outcome.” “We kept focused all week and got it done tonight,” said Christian McGaughey. “Our O-line came together and we got it done.” “We respect them and I hope they respect us,” said Nick Nero. “We did the best we could to stop them and we pulled it off at the end. This was a really big game for us and it was a great victory for us. “We wanted it to seem like it was just another game, but we knew in our hearts that we needed to win this one. “This game decided if we were worthy of being in the state championship game.” “It’s an indescribable feeling to get the chance to go back there two years in a row,” Michael Kranak said of playing at Wheeling Island Stadium. “It’s awfully special to be a part of it this year. “This win may be big, but a win next week would be even bigger. “You hear all the hype about Wheeling Central, but to be able to put it aside and just go out there and play was big for us.” Madonna’s defense, ranked No. 1 in the state in all classifications, held the mighty Maroon Knights’ running attack to 99 yards on 31 carries. “Wheeling Central is a great team and they played hard, but we have the No. 1 defense for a reason,” said Seth Gianessi. “We just came out to play,” said Eddie Nogay. “It’s a big game and they’re a big rival for us. But, we were confident throughout the whole game and got it done. “We’ve been able to stop the run all year. We have great linebackers, great defensive linemen. Our secondary covers well and forces them to run. “We did a good job.”